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Parapsicephalus purdoni
Temporal range: Early Jurassic, 182Ma
Parapsicephalus purdoni AMNH 1694 cast.jpg
Fossil skull showing brain endocast (AMNH 1694)
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Clade: Pterosauromorpha
Order: Pterosauria
Genus: Parapsicephalus
Arthaber, 1919
Species: † P. purdoni
Binomial name
Parapsicephalus purdoni
(Newton, 1888)

Scaphognathus purdoni Newton, 1888

Parapsicephalus (meaning "beside arch head") is a genus of "rhamphorhynchoid" (long-tailed) pterosaurs from the early Toarcian-age Lower Jurassic Alum Shale of Whitby, Yorkshire, England. It is known from a single partial skull lacking the snout, but including a detailed endocast of the brain.

It was collected in the 1880s by Reverend D.W. Purdon, who is honored in the specific name,[1] and first described by Edwin Tulley Newton, who named it as a species of Scaphognathus, S. purdoni.[2] It was recognized as a distinct genus only decades later in 1919 by Gustav von Arthaber,[3] although in 2003 it was synonymized by David Unwin with Dorygnathus,[4] repeated in a recent popular publication.[5] It is considered to be a rhamphorhynchid,[6] of medium size (estimated wingspan of ~1 m ~[3.3 ft]).[1]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Wellnhofer, Peter (1996) [1991]. The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Pterosaurs. New York: Barnes and Noble Books. pp. 77–78. ISBN 0-7607-0154-7. 
  2. ^ Newton, E.T. (1888). On the skull, brain, and auditory organ of a new species of pterosaurian (Scaphognathus purdoni) from the Upper Lias near Whitby, Yorkshire. Philospophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London, B 179:503-537
  3. ^ von Arthaber, G. (1919). Studien über Flugsaurier auf Grund der Bearbeitung des Wiener exemplars von Dorygnathus banthensis Theod Sp., Denkschriften der königlichen Akademie der Wissenschaften. Mathematisch-Naturwissenschaftliche Klasse 97:391-464. [German]
  4. ^ Unwin, D. M., 2003, "On the phylogeny and evolutionary history of pterosaurs", In: Evolution and Palaeobiology of Pterosaurs, edited by Buffetaut, E., and Mazin, J.-M., Geological Society Special Publication, n. 217, p. 139-190
  5. ^ Unwin, D.M. (2006). The Pterosaurs: From Deep Time. Pi Press:New York, p. 272. ISBN 0-13-146308-X.
  6. ^ Carroll, R.L. (1988). Vertebrate Paleontology and Evolution. W.H. Freeman and Company:New York, 698 pp. ISBN 0-7167-1822-7.