Sunday, July 22, 2012

[Paleontology • 2012] Jianchangnathus robustus • A new scaphognathid pterosaur from western Liaoning, China

Jianchangnathus robustus
Cheng, Wang, Jiang & Kellner 2012

A partial skeleton of a new pterosaur, Jianchangnathus robustus gen. et sp. nov. from western Liaoning, China, is described. The specimen (IVPP V16866) was collected near Linglongta, Jianchang County, whose deposits have a disputed age that range from Middle Jurassic to Early Cretaceous. The new species shares several features with the non-pterodactyloid Scaphognathus from the Late Jurassic deposits of southern Germany, such as a deep anterior end of the lower jaw, a piriform lower temporal fenestra with the ventral margin broader than the dorsal one and the interalveolar spacing of the maxillary teeth about three alveolar spaces, allowing its allocation to the Scaphognathidae. The main diagnostic features of J. robustus include the large maxillary process of the jugal, the convex alveolar margin of the lower jaw and the procumbent disposition of the first three pairs of dentary teeth. The new Chinese taxon also differs from Fenghuangopterus lii, which comes from the same deposit and is here regarded as Scaphognathidae incertae sedis, mainly by the lower number of teeth and several proportions of the wing elements. The discovery of J. robustus demonstrates a larger diversity in the pterosaur fauna of the Linglongta region so far dominated by the non-pterodactyloid clade Wukongopteridae.

Keywords: Pterosauria, Scaphognathidae, Jianchangnathus , Liaoning, China

Holotype of Jianchangnathus robustus (IVPP V16866),
(a) Photo and (b) drawing of the nearly complete skeleton. (Image by CHENG Xin)

The skull of Jianchangnathus robustus (IVPP V16866). (Image by CHENG Xin)

Xin Cheng, Xiaolin Wang, Shunxing Jiang and Alexander W.A. Kellner. 2012. A new scaphognathid pterosaur from western Liaoning, China. Historical Biology. 24. DOI:10.1080/08912963.2011.635423