Pterosauria

Reconstruction of Dimorphodon macronyx chasing a sphenodontian, copyright Mark P. Witton.


Belongs within: Archosauria.
Contains: Novialoidea.

The Pterosauria are a highly distinctive group of reptiles known from the late Triassic to the end of the Cretaceous. They are most obviously characterised by the massive elongation of the forelimb, particularly the fourth digit, to support an extensive wing membrane (reinforced with radiating fibres known as aktinofibrils) that, together with a large and robust shoulder girdle, allowed for powered flight. Other distinctive features of pterosaurs include extensively pneumaticised bones, a slender bone known as the pteroid that probably articulated at the base of the wrist in a depression on the medial side of the preaxial carpal, and projected medially towards to body to support a small aerodynamic membrane (propatagium) at the front of the wing, and a clawless, sometimes reduced or loss, fifth digit on the hind foot (Witton 2013).

Pterosauria [Caelidracones, Pterosauromorpha, Rhamphorhynchoidea]
    |  i. s.: Comodactylus Galton 1981 W91
    |           `--C. ostromi Galton 1981 (n. d.) CU03
    |         Laopteryx priscus Marsh 1881 (n. d.) CU03
    |         Phobetopter parvus FMB03
    |         Rhamphinion Padian 1984 W91
    |           `--*R. jenkinsi Padian 1984 W91
    |         Odontorhynchus Stolley 1936 W91
    |           `--O. aculeatus W91
    |         Faxinalipterus minima W13
    |--Preondactylus Wild 1984 RK13, U03
    |    `--*P. buffarinii Wild 1984 DV03
    `--Macronychoptera U03
         |--Dimorphodontidae W13
         |    |--Peteinosaurus Wild 1978 U03
         |    |    `--*P. zambellii Wild 1978 DV03
         |    `--Dimorphodon Owen 1859 WK08, U03
         |         |--D. macronyx (Buckland 1829) K03 [=Pterodactylus macronyx W91]
         |         `--D. weintraubi U03
         `--+--Novialoidea RK13
            `--Anurognathidae W13
                 |--Anurognathus Döderlein 1923 WK08, U03
                 |    `--A. ammoni Döderlein 1923 K03
                 `--Asiaticognathidae K03
                      |--Dendrorhynchoides Ji et al. 1999 U03
                      |    `--D. curvidentatus (Ji & Ji 1998) K03
                      |--Batrachognathus Rjabinin 1948 U03
                      |    `--B. volans Rjabinin 1948 K03
                      `--Jeholopterus Wan et al. 2002 WK08, U03
                           `--J. ningchengensis U03

*Type species of generic name indicated

REFERENCES

[CU03] Carpenter, K., D. Unwin, K. Cloward, C. Miles & C. Miles. 2003. A new scaphognathine pterosaur from the Upper Jurassic Morrison Formation of Wyoming, USA. In: Buffetaut, E., & J.-M. Mazin (eds) Evolution and Palaeobiology of Pterosaurs. Geological Society Special Publications 217: 45–54. The Geological Society: London.

[DV03] Dalla Vecchia, F. M. 2003. New morphological observations on Triassic pterosaurs. In: Buffetaut, E., & J.-M. Mazin (eds) Evolution and Palaeobiology of Pterosaurs. Geological Society Special Publications 217: 23–44. The Geological Society: London.

[FMB03] Frey, E., D. M. Martill & M.-C. Buchy. 2003. A new species of tapejarid pterosaur with soft-tissue head crest. In: Buffetaut, E., & J.-M. Mazin (eds) Evolution and Palaeobiology of Pterosaurs. Geological Society Special Publications 217: 65–72. The Geological Society: London.

[K03] Kellner, A. W. A. 2003. Pterosaur phylogeny and comments on the evolutionary history of the group. In: Buffetaut, E., & J.-M. Mazin (eds) Evolution and Palaeobiology of Pterosaurs. Geological Society Special Publications 217: 105–137. The Geological Society: London.

[RK13] Rodrigues, T., & A. W. A. Kellner. 2013. Taxonomic review of the Ornithocheirus complex (Pterosauria) from the Cretaceous of England. ZooKeys 308: 1–112.

[U03] Unwin, D. M. 2003. On the phylogeny and evolutionary history of pterosaurs. In: Buffetaut, E., & J.-M. Mazin (eds) Evolution and Palaeobiology of Pterosaurs. Geological Society Special Publications 217: 139–190. The Geological Society: London.

[WK08] Wang, X., A. W. A. Kellner, Z. Zhou & D. de A. Campos. 2008. Discovery of a rare arboreal forest-dwelling flying reptile (Pterosauria, Pterodactyloidea) from China. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA 105 (6): 1983–1987.

[W91] Wellnhofer, P. 1991. The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Pterosaurs.  Salamander Books: London (reprinted 2000. In: Norman, D., & P. Wellnhofer.The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Dinosaurs. Salamander Books).

[W13] Witton, M. P. 2013. Pterosaurs: Natural History, Evolution, Anatomy. Princeton University Press: Princeton (New Jersey).

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