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Temporal range: Early Cretaceous, 124.6 Ma
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Order: Pterosauria
Suborder: Pterodactyloidea
Family: Boreopteridae
Genus: Boreopterus
Lü & Ji, 2005
Species: B. cuiae
Binomial name
Boreopterus cuiae
Lü & Ji, 2005


Boreopterus is a genus of pterodactyloid pterosaur from the Barremian-Aptian-age Lower Cretaceous Yixian Formation of Dalian, Liaoning, China.

The genus was named in 2005 by Lü Jinchang and Ji Qiang. The type species is Boreopterus cuiae. The genus name is derived from Greek boreios, "northern" and pteron, "wing". The specific epithet honours Cui Xu.

The genus is based on holotype JZMP-04-07-3, a nearly complete but crushed skeleton and skull. The skull is 235 millimeters long (9.25 inches), low and elongated with a rounded tip. Its wingspan is estimated to have been around 1.45 meters (4.76 feet). Its teeth, especially the anterior nine pairs, are quite large, forming a mesh of sharp teeth at the front of the mouth; the third and fourth teeth from the front are the largest. There are at least 27 teeth in each side of both the upper and lower jaws, which is a large amount.[1]


Lü and Ji initially placed Boreopterus in the Ornithocheiridae when they described it in 2006, a classification which was supported later that year by David Unwin.[2] However, Lü in 2006 published a cladistic analysis showing Boreopterus to be the sister taxon of Feilongus (together forming the new family, Boreopteridae[3]) in a position more basal than Haopterus.[4]

In 2013, a more comprehensive study of pterosaur relationships supported the close relationship of Boreopterus and Feilongus, as well as their relatively basal status among pterodactyloids. Andres & Myers (2013) found the "boreopterids" as the sister group of Cycnorhamphus within the archaeopterodactyloid group Gallodactylidae.[5] However, subsequent analysis have found Boreopteridae to be indeed "pteranodontian" ornithocheiroids, composed of Boreopterus, Zhenyuanopterus and Guidraco, while Feilongus is a relative of Gnathosaurus.[6]


Pterosaurs like Boreopterus are interpreted by Unwin as soaring animals, like today's albatrosses and frigatebirds.[7] However, it has also been suggested that boreopterids foraged while swimming, trapping small prey with their needle-like teeth,[8] a method similar to that of modern Platanista dolphins.

It has been suggested that the closely related Zhenyuanopterus was merely the adult form of this animal.[8]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Junchang Lü; and Qiang Ji (2005). "A new ornithocheirid from the Early Cretaceous of Liaoning Province, China". Acta Geologica Sinica. 79 (2): 157–163. doi:10.1111/j.1755-6724.2005.tb00877.x. 
  2. ^ Unwin, David M. (2006). The Pterosaurs: From Deep Time. New York: Pi Press. p. 272. ISBN 0-13-146308-X. 
  3. ^ Junchang, Lü; Ji, S.; Yuan, C.; Ji, Q. (2006). Pterosaurs from China (in Chinese). Beijing: Geological Publishing House. p. 147 p. 
  4. ^ Lü, Junchang; Qiang Ji (2006). "Preliminary results of a phylogenetic analysis of the pterosaurs from western Liaoning and surrounding area" (PDF). Journal of the Paleontological Society of Korea. 22 (1): 239–261. Retrieved 2007-03-10. 
  5. ^ 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. 
  6. ^ Andres, B.; Clark, J.; Xu, X. (2014). "The Earliest Pterodactyloid and the Origin of the Group". Current Biology. 24: 1011–6. doi:10.1016/j.cub.2014.03.030. PMID 24768054. 
  7. ^ Unwin, David M. (2006). "A tree for pterosaurs". The Pterosaurs: From Deep Time. New York: Pi Press. pp. 79–82. ISBN 0-13-146308-X. 
  8. ^ a b Mark Witton, 2011

External links[edit]