|Restored skeleton of Dsungaripterus weii|
In 1964 Young created a family to place the recently found Chinese genus Dsungaripterus. Later on, also Noripterus (then now with the name "Phobetor" which was already occupied, therefore the quotation marks) were assigned to the family.
In 2003, Alexander Kellner gave the exact definition as a clade: the group was composed out of the latest common ancestor of Dsungaripterus, Noripterus and “Phobetor”, and all its descendants. As synapomorphies he gave the next six characteristics: a relatively small eye-socket, which is placed high up the skull; an opening below the eye-socket; a high ridge across the snout, which starts in front of the nasal opening and ends behind the eye-sockets; the maxilla reaches out down- and backwards; the absence of teeth in the first part of the jaws; the teeth in the back of the upper jaw are the biggest; the teeth have a wide oval basis. Kellner pointed out all members of the group, except for Dsungaripterus itself, were known from fragmentary remains, so only the last characteristic could be established for sure in all members.
The known Dsungaripteridae range from the Late Jurassic to the Cretaceous (Hauterivian). The group belongs to the Dsungaripteroidea sensu Unwin and is presumably relatively closely related to the Azhdarchoidea. According to Unwin, Germanodactylus is the sister taxon to the group, but his analyses have this outcome as the only ones. According to an analysis by Brian Andres from 2008, the Dsungaripteridae are closely related to the Tapejaridae, what would actually make them members of the Azhdarchoidea.
The earliest known fossils attributed to this group are from the Kimmeridgian-age Upper Jurassic Argiles d'Octeville Formation of France, dated to around 155 million years ago, and belonging to the species Normannognathus wellnhoferi. The last known dsungaripteroid species is Lonchognathosaurus acutirostris, from the Albian-age Lower Cretaceous Lianmuqin Formation of Xinjiang, China, about 112 million years ago.
- Jaime A. Headden and Hebert B.N. Campos (2014). "An unusual edentulous pterosaur from the Early Cretaceous Romualdo Formation of Brazil". Historical Biology: An International Journal of Paleobiology. in press. doi:10.1080/08912963.2014.904302.
- Lü, J., Unwin, D.M., Xu, L., and Zhang, X. (2008). "A new azhdarchoid pterosaur from the Lower Cretaceous of China and its implications for pterosaur phylogeny and evolution." Naturwissenschaften, 95(9): 891-897. doi:10.1007/s00114-008-0397-5 PMID 18509616
- Unwin, David M. (2006). The Pterosaurs: From Deep Time. New York: Pi Press. p. 273. ISBN 0-13-146308-X.
- Kellner, A.W.A., 2003. Pterosaur phylogeny and comments on the evolutionary history of the AN group. In: Buffetaut, E., Mazin, J.M. (Eds.), Evolution and Palaeobiology of Pterosaurs. Geological Society, London, Special Publication 217, 105–137.
- Unwin, D. M., (2003). "On the phylogeny and evolutionary history of pterosaurs." Pp. 139-190. in Buffetaut, E. & Mazin, J.-M., (eds.) (2003). Evolution and Palaeobiology of Pterosaurs. Geological Society of London, Special Publications 217, London, 1-347.
- Andres, B., Ji, Q., 2008. A new pterosaur from the Liaoning Province of China, the phylogeny of the Pterodactyloidea, and convergence in their cervical vertebrae. Palaeontology 51, 453–469.
- Buffetaut, E., Lepage, J.-J., and Lepage, G. (1998). A new pterodactyloid pterosaur from the Kimmeridgian of the Cap de la Hève (Normandy, France). Geological Magazine 135(5):719–722.
- Maisch, M.W., Matzke, A.T., and Ge Sun. (2004). A new dsungaripteroid pterosaur from the Lower Cretaceous of the southern Junggar Basin, north-west China. Cretaceous Research 25:625-634.
- Andres, B.; Clark, J.; Xu, X. (2014). "The Earliest Pterodactyloid and the Origin of the Group". Current Biology. doi:10.1016/j.cub.2014.03.030.