Tuesday, September 19, 2023

[Paleontology • 2023] Lusognathus almadrava • A New gnathosaurine (Pterosauria: Archaeopterodactyloidea) from the Late Jurassic of Portugal


Lusognathus almadrava
Fernandes, Beccari, Kellner & Mateus​, 2023
Reconstruction by Jason Brougham.

An incomplete, yet remarkably-sized dentated rostrum and associated partial cervical vertebrae of a pterosaur (ML 2554) were recently discovered from the Late Jurassic (Late Kimmeridgian-Early Tithonian) Lourinhã Formation of Praia do Caniçal, of central west Portugal. This specimen exhibits features such as a spatulated anterior expansion of the rostrum, robust comb-like dentition, and pronounced rims of the tooth alveoli, indicating gnathosaurine affinities. Based on its further unique tooth and dentary morphology, a new genus and species, Lusognathus almadrava gen. et spec. nov., is proposed, making this the first named pterosaur species found within Portugal. The presence of this taxon adds yet another element to the fluvio-deltaic lagoonal environment that has been suggested as representative of the Lourinhã Formation in the Late Jurassic, further contributing to the diversity and distribution of gnathosaurines worldwide.

The upper jaw of the holotype (ML 2554) of Lusognathus almadrava gen. et sp. nov. (ML 2554).
(A) Photography of both jaw fragments; (B) CT-scan reconstruction of the jaw in dorsal view, showing minimum possible preserved length, in dorsal view; (C) ventral view; (D) left lateral view; (E) right lateral view; (F) anterior view.

Comparison of the ventral rostra of: (A) Gnathosaurus subulatus Meyer, 1833 (JME-SOS 4580); (B) Lusognathus almadrava gen. et sp. nov. (ML 2554), and (C) Plataleorhynchus streptophorodon Howse & Milner, 1995 (BMNH R 11957).

Systematic Paleontology



CTENOCHASMATIDAE Nopsca, 1928 sensu Unwin, 2003
GNATHOSAURINAE Nopsca, 1928 sensu Unwin, 2002

Lusognathus, gen. nov.

Lusognathus almadrava, sp. nov.

Locality and Horizon: Praia de Caniçal, county of Lourinhã, Portugal. Lourinhã Formation, late Kimmeridgian-early Tithonian, about 149.2 Ma (Schneider, Fürsich & Werner, 2009).

Diagnosis: A gnathosaurine pterosaur with the following combination of characters: a rounded-triangular anterior expansion of the premaxilla, constriction of the maxilla directly posterior to the spatulate anterior expansion, robust laterally-projected teeth (spaced at 1.3 teeth per cm) with a subcircular to oval cross-section, and posterior teeth projected anterolaterally.

Etymology: Lusognathus is derived from the Latin “Luso”, after the prefix used for referencing things relating to Lusitania (the former name for the area of Portugal in Roman times) and “gnathus” meaning “jaw”; an “almadrava” is the name of a traditional Portuguese fishing trap for catching seafood.

Reconstruction of Lusognathus almadrava and its paleoenvironment
by Jason Brougham.

Alexandra E. Fernandes, Victor Beccari, Alexander W. A. Kellner and Octávio Mateus​. 2023. A New gnathosaurine (Pterosauria, Archaeopterodactyloidea) from the Late Jurassic of Portugal.  PeerJ 11: e16048. DOI: 10.7717/peerj.16048