Dsungaripterid Pterosaur Discovered In China

A new genus and species of pterosaur has been unearthed by paleontologists in China, and has been identified from partially preserved jawbones to be from the uniquely flamboyant pterosaur group, the dsungaripteridae.

This pterosaur bears the name “Ordosipterus planignathus“, and hails from around 115 million years ago, in the thick of what would have been the Early Cretaceous epoch. Fossils of Ordosipterus were discovered near Xinzhao Village in Inner Mongolia, China, at a previously known fossil bearing geological locale called the Luohandong Formation. This find further compliments the wealth of paleontological discoveries that are made in and around Mongolia.

My own reconstruction of Ordosipterus planignathus, modeled off of it’s close evolutionary cousin, Dsungaripterus. I used an interesting crest shape and pattern to highlight the importance of display in pterosaur lives, as it is safe to imagine males with bright and flashy colors which would help attract mates. Done 11/18/2020

The discovery of Ordosipterus has interesting implications for how biodiverse prehistoric Asia would have been, as it is only the second pterosaur to come out of Inner Mongolia (Huanhepterus quingyangensis being the first). The discovery of a diversity in pterosaur life in this region back in the Mesozoic indicates that the Ordos Basin back in the Cretaceous would have been a spectacularly active ecological locality, abuzz with a variety of stegosaurs (including the strange Wuerhosaurus), iguanodontids, sauropods, pterosaurs, psittacosaurs, crocodiles, and smaller animals like turtles and various insects.

Incomplete articulated lower jaws of Ordosipterus planignathus: (a) dorsal view, (b) left lateral view, (c) ventral view. Image Credit: Shu-an Ji

 

  • Shu-an Ji. 2020. First record of Early Cretaceous pterosaur from the Ordos Region, Inner Mongolia, China. China Geology 3 (1): 1-7; doi: 10.31035/cg2020007

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