Temporal range: Early Cretaceous, 120 Ma
Lü & Ji, 2005
Lü & Ji, 2005
Eoazhdarcho is a genus of azhdarchoid pterodactyloid pterosaur named in 2005 by Chinese paleontologists Lü Junchang and Ji Qiang. The type species is Eoazhdarcho liaoxiensis. The genus name combines a Greek eos, "dawn" with the name of the genus Azhdarcho, with the implication it was an early related form of the latter. The specific name refers to the ancient region Liaoxi.
The fossil was found in the Aptian-age Lower Cretaceous Jiufotang Formation of Chaoyang, Liaoning, China. The genus is based on holotype GMN-03-11-02, a partial skeleton and lower jaw, and is distinguished from other pterosaurs by the proportions of its bones. The metacarpals are very elongated but the cervical vertebrae and hind limbs are not. It was relatively small by azhdarchoid standards, with a wingspan of about 1.6 meters (5.2 feet).
Its describers first assigned Eoazhdarcho to the Azhdarchidae in a basal position, and compared it to Azhdarcho. However, in 2006 they published a cladistic analysis, determining that several forms, among them Eoazhdarcho, were united in a natural group, a separate clade that could be set apart from a Azhdarchidae proper. In 2008 that clade was by Lü, Unwin and colleagues named the Chaoyangopteridae — the sister group of the Azhdarchidae within a much larger Azhdarchoidea — with Eoazhdarcho as one of the members.
- Lü, Junchang; Qiang Ji (2005). "New azhdarchid pterosaur from the Early Cretaceous of western Liaoning". Acta Geologica Sinica. 79 (3): 301–307. doi:10.1111/j.1755-6724.2005.tb00893.x.
- 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.
- 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: 891–897
- Eoazhdarcho in The Pterosauria
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