Boreopteridae

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Boreopterids
Temporal range: Early Cretaceous, 124.6 Ma
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Pterosauria
Suborder: Pterodactyloidea
Clade: Anhangueria
Family: Boreopteridae
et al., 2006
Type species
Boreopterus cuiae
Lü & Ji, 2005
Genera

Boreopterus
Guidraco
Zhenyuanopterus

Boreopteridae (meaning "northern wings") is a group of ornithocheiroid pterosaurs from the Aptian-age Lower Cretaceous Yixian Formation of Liaoning, China.[1]

Classification[edit]

In 2006, Lü and colleagues named the clade Boreopteridae for the clade containing the common ancestor of Boreopterus and Feilongus and all its descendants, which the authors reclassified as close relatives of the ornithocherids. (Feilongus had originally been considered a gallodactylid). Many possible boreopterids were subsequently described,[2] one possible example being Aetodactylus, which has been claimed to be similar to Boreopterus.[3] Originally considered close relatives of the ornithocheirids, many of these supposed boreopterids have been found to belong to other groups of the pterodactyloid lineage. Boreopterus and Feilongus were found by Andres and colleagues in 2013 to be closely related to Cycnorhamphus, making them members of the Gallodactylidae as had been originally thought when Feilongus was discovered.[4] A subsequent analysis including the other supposed boreopterids found that Boreopterus itself, and therefore the name Boreopteridae, was indeed a member of the ornithocheiroid clade, but that Feilongus was in fact a ctenochasmatoid closely related to Gnathosaurus.[5] According to Andres and colleagues (2014), the true boreopterid clade is limited to Boreopterus, Guidraco, and Zhenyuanopterus.[5]

Palaeoecology[edit]

The known taxa come from the Yixian Formation of Liaoning, which represented a lake system, suggesting that these animals occurred in freshwater habitats. They are thought to have foraged while swimming, trapping prey with their needle-like teeth;[2] this method of fishing was probably analogous to that of Platanista dolphins, which share a similar dentition.

Many possible ornithocheirid remains might actually belong to boreopterids,[2] a possible example being Aetodactylus, which has been claimed to be similar to Boreopterus.[3]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Junchang, Lü; Ji, S.; Yuan, C.; Ji, Q. (2006). Pterosaurs from China (in Chinese). Beijing: Geological Publishing House. p. 147 p. 
  2. ^ a b c Mark Witton, 2011
  3. ^ a b Myers, Timothy S. (2010). "A new ornithocheirid pterosaur from the Upper Cretaceous (Cenomanian–Turonian) Eagle Ford Group of Texas" (pdf). Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology. 30 (1): 280–287. doi:10.1080/02724630903413099. 
  4. ^ Andres, B.; Myers, T. S. (2013). "Lone Star Pterosaurs". Earth and Environmental Science Transactions of the Royal Society of Edinburgh. 103: 1. doi:10.1017/S1755691013000303. 
  5. ^ a b Andres, B.; Clark, J.; Xu, X. (2014). "The Earliest Pterodactyloid and the Origin of the Group". Current Biology. 24: 1011–6. PMID 24768054. doi:10.1016/j.cub.2014.03.030.