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Temporal range:
Early Cretaceous, 125 Ma
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Order: Pterosauria
Suborder: Pterodactyloidea
Genus: Avgodectes
Peters, 2004
Type species
Avgodectes pseudembryon
Peters, 2004

Avgodectes is an invalid pterosaur genus. The full binomial is Avgodectes pseudembryon, which translates to "false-embryo egg-biter"; avgo is taken from modern Greek for "egg". It was named by David Peters in 2004 and based on a pterosaur found within an egg.[1] While the scientists who initially described the fossil, Wang and Zhou, interpreted it as an unhatched embryo of an ornithocheirid pterosaur,[1] Peters interpreted the find as a tiny, adult anurognathid.[2] The specimen comes from the Early Cretaceous of China.[1]

Peters gave the species its name because the skeleton was the same size as most adult anurognathids. He hypothesized that the supposed embryo could have been an adult anurognathid fossilized while eating the contents of a dinosaur egg, large enough to contain it. This interpretation was not accepted by other pterosaur researchers; Chris Bennett, for example, pointed to evidence also noted by the original authors that the ends of long bones in the fossil were not completely ossified (turned to solid bone rather than cartilage) and had not yet developed a complex structure, which indicates the specimen was immature when it died. Bennett agreed with the original authors that the best interpretation of an immature pterosaur (more immature than any previously known) found inside an egg is that the specimen represents an embryo.[3] Peters himself acknowledged his misinterpretation when other pterosaur eggs were described in 2005.[4] This second Chinese egg[5] is that of an undisputed ornithocheirid and it differs from the Avgodectes material.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Wang, X.; Zhou, Z. (2004). "Pterosaur embryo from the Early Cretaceous". Nature. 429 (6992): 623–8. doi:10.1038/429621a. PMID 15190343. 
  2. ^ Peters, David (2004). "Did pterosaurs lay eggs?". Prehistoric Times. 67: 21. Archived from the original on 2005-02-11. 
  3. ^ Bennett, S. Christopher (2005). "Pterosaur Science or Pterosaur Fantasy" (PDF). Prehistoric Times. 70: 21–23, 40. Archived from the original (pdf) on 2006-09-12. 
  4. ^ Peters, David (2005). "Pterosaur Ptrouble". Prehistoric Times. 72: 44–47). 
  5. ^ Ji, Q; Ji, SA; Cheng, YN; You, HL; Lü, JC; Liu, YQ; Yuan, CX (2004). "Pterosaur egg with a leathery shell". Nature. 432 (7017): 572. doi:10.1038/432572a. PMID 15577900.