, Volume 95, Issue 9, pp 891–897

A new azhdarchoid pterosaur from the Lower Cretaceous of China and its implications for pterosaur phylogeny and evolution

  • Junchang Lü
  • David M. Unwin
  • Li Xu
  • Xingliao Zhang
Short Communication

DOI: 10.1007/s00114-008-0397-5

Cite this article as:
Lü, J., Unwin, D.M., Xu, L. et al. Naturwissenschaften (2008) 95: 891. doi:10.1007/s00114-008-0397-5


Toothless pterosaurs played a key role in broadening the taxonomic, morphological and ecological diversity of Cretaceous pterosaurs. Here we report a complete, articulated skeleton of a 1.4-m-wingspan pterosaur from the Lower Cretaceous Jiufotang Formation of Liaoning Province, China which is identified as a new genus and species, Shenzhoupterus chaoyangensis gen. et sp. nov. The new taxon is edentulous, with a relatively large skull and a remarkably large, tall nasoantorbital fenestra that extends well above the main part of the braincase. Phylogenetic analysis shows that Shenzhoupterus gen. nov. belongs in a distinct clade of azhdarchoid pterosaurs, formally recognised here as a new family, Chaoyangopteridae, that also includes Chaoyangopterus, Jidapterus and Eoazhdarcho from the Jiufotang Formation and Eopteranodon from the Yixian Formation. These new data clarify recent confusion surrounding the systematics of these Lower Cretaceous taxa and provide new insights into the evolutionary history of pterosaurs.


Azhdarchoidea Shenzhoupterus Phylogeny Pterosaur Lower Cretaceous China 

Supplementary material

114_2008_397_MOESM1_ESM.doc (46 kb)
Electronic supplementary material-S1(DOC 47 kb)
114_2008_397_MOESM2_ESM.doc (324 kb)
Electronic supplementary material-S2(DOC 332 kb)

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Junchang Lü
    • 1
  • David M. Unwin
    • 2
  • Li Xu
    • 3
  • Xingliao Zhang
    • 3
  1. 1.Institute of GeologyChinese Academy of Geological SciencesBeijingChina
  2. 2.Department of Museum StudiesUniversity of LeicesterLeicesterUK
  3. 3.Henan Geological MuseumZhengzhouChina

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