Sunday, July 22, 2012

[Paleontology • 2012] Qinglongopterus guoi • A new rhamphorhynchid (Pterosauria: Rhamphorhynchidae) from the Middle/Upper Jurassic of Qinglong, Hebei Province, China

A heavily compressed, but nearly complete fossil skeleton recovered from the Middle/Upper Jurassic Tiaojishan Formation of Mutoudeng, Qinglong County, Hebei Province, China, represents a new genus and species of long-tailed pterosaur, Qinglongopterus guoi gen. et sp. nov. The holotype and only known specimen has an estimated forelimb length of 0.18 m. The new taxon is distinguished by a relatively short skull, a remarkably short pteroid with a distinctive knob-like distal expansion, and a prepubis with a relatively slender distal process. Phylogenetic analysis demonstrates that Qinglongopterus is a member of Rhamphorhynchidae, exhibiting many of the unique character states found in members of this clade. Qinglongopterus is strikingly similar to Rhamphorhynchus and more closely related to this taxon than to any other rhamphorhynchine, this pairing is supported by morphometric data and several synapomorphies (short, broad nasal process of the maxilla; forelimb length more than four times that of the hind limb; wing-phalanx one more than twice the length of the tibia). Qinglongopterus demonstrates that the highly derived skeletal morphology of Rhamphorhynchus, known only from the latest Jurassic (Tithonian) of Europe, had already appeared by the start of the Late Jurassic. This hints at evolutionary stasis in Rhamphorhynchinae, a phenomenon seemingly also present in two other clades of basal pterosaurs, Anurognathidae and Scaphognathinae, and contrasting sharply with basal monofenestratans which appear to have undergone extensive evolutionary change during the same interval.

Key words: Middle/Upper Jurassic, Tiaojishan Formation, Pterosaur, Qinglongopterus guoi gen. et sp. nov.


Lü, J., Unwin, D.M., Zhao, B., Gao, C. and Shen, C. 2012. A new rhamphorhynchid (Pterosauria: Rhamphorhynchidae) from the Middle/Upper Jurassic of Qinglong, Hebei Province, China. Zootaxa. 3158: 1–19.

New Long-Tailed Pterosaur Discovered in China | Paleontology |