Pentland, Poropat, Tischler, Sloan, Elliott, et al., 2019
Illustration by Travis R. Tischler.
The Australian pterosaur record is poor by world standards, comprising fewer than 20 fragmentary specimens. Herein, we describe the new genus and species Ferrodraco lentoni gen. et sp. nov., based on the most complete pterosaur specimen ever found in Australia, and the first reported from the Winton Formation (Cenomanian–lower Turonian). The presence of premaxillary and mandibular crests, and spike-shaped teeth with subcircular bases, enable Ferrodraco to be referred to Anhangueria. Ferrodraco can be distinguished from all other anhanguerian pterosaurs based on two dental characters: the first premaxillary and mandibular tooth pairs are small; and the fourth–seventh tooth pairs are smaller than the third and eighth ones. Ferrodraco was included in a phylogenetic analysis of Pterosauria and resolved as the sister taxon to Mythunga camara (upper Albian Toolebuc Formation, Australia), with that clade occupying the most derived position within Ornithocheiridae. Ornithocheirus simus (Albian Cambridge Greensand, England), Coloborhynchus clavirostris (Valanginian Hastings Sands, England), and Tropeognathus mesembrinus (upper Aptian–lower Albian Romualdo Formation, Brazil) were resolved as successive sister taxa, which suggests that ornithocheirids were cosmopolitan during the Albian–Cenomanian. Furthermore, the stratigraphic age of Ferrodraco lentoni (Cenomanian–lower Turonian) implies that anhanguerians might have survived later in Australia than elsewhere.
Pterosauria Kaup, 1834
Pterodactyloidea Plieninger, 1901
Ornithocheiroidea Seeley, 1891 sensu Kellner, 2003
Anhangueria Rodrigues and Kellner, 2013
Ornithocheirae Seeley, 1870
Ornithocheiridae Seeley, 1870
Ornithocheirinae Andres, Clark and Xu, 2014
Ferrodraco lentoni gen. et sp. nov.
Holotype: Australian Age of Dinosaurs Fossil (AODF, Winton, Queensland, Australia) 876 (‘Butch’): anterior portion of skull comprising partial premaxillae, maxillae and dentaries (including premaxillary and mandibular crests and the mandibular symphysis); partial left frontal; left mandibular articular region comprising the surangular, angular and articular; five partial cervical vertebrae; partial right scapulocoracoid; partial left ulna; partial left radius; left proximal and distal carpals; left metacarpal IV; proximal end of right metacarpal IV; fragmentary left non-wing manual phalanges; partial left first wing phalanx (IV-1); and associated fragments. Several elements, including the skull and mandible and many of the appendicular elements (based on key-fits between adherent matrix on anatomically adjacent elements) were clearly articulated post-fossilisation; however, erosion and soil rotation led to fragmentation of the specimen prior to its excavation.
Type horizon and locality: Winton Formation (Cenomanian–lower Turonian); Australian Age of Dinosaurs Locality (AODL, Winton, Queensland, Australia) 245 (the ‘Pterosaur Site’), Belmont Station, Winton, Queensland, Australia (Fig. 1).
Diagnosis: Anhanguerian pterodactyloid diagnosed by the following autapomorphies: (1) first tooth pair of the premaxilla and mandible smaller than other anterior teeth; (2) fourth up to seventh teeth smaller than third and eighth.
Etymology: From the Latin ferrum (iron), in reference to the ironstone preservation of the holotype specimen, and the Latin draco (dragon). The species name honours former Winton Shire mayor Graham Thomas ‘Butch’ Lenton, in recognition of his years of service to the Winton community and support to the Australian Age of Dinosaurs Natural History Museum.
|Figure 8: Life restoration of Ferrodraco lentoni gen. et sp. nov. as an ornithocheirid pterosaur. |
Illustration by Travis R. Tischler.
Adele H. Pentland, Stephen F. Poropat, Travis R. Tischler, Trish Sloan, Robert A. Elliott, Harry A. Elliott, Judy A. Elliott and David A. Elliott. 2019. Ferrodraco lentoni gen. et sp. nov., A New Ornithocheirid Pterosaur from the Winton Formation (Cenomanian–lower Turonian) of Queensland, Australia. Scientific Reports. 9: 13454. DOI: 10.1038/s41598-019-49789-4