Late Jurassic - Early Cretaceous, 152–124.6 Ma
|Cast of a Cycnorhamphus suevicus specimen|
Boreopteridae Lu et al., 2006
Gallodactylidae is a group of pterosaurs within the suborder Pterodactyloidea. Gallodactylids differed from other related pterosaurs in several distinct features, including fewer than 50 teeth present only in the jaw tips, and rounded crests present on the rear portion of the skull and jaws but not near the ends of their snouts.
Gallodactylidae was named to contain Gallodactylus (now usually considered a synonym of Cycnorhamphus) and its closest relatives. Many subsequents, however, showed that Gallodactylus did not form a clade with any non-synoynmous pterosaurs that were not themselves part of a different family, and so the name was often ignored.
In 2006, Lu 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). All known boreopterids came 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; this method of fishing was probably analogous to that of Platanista dolphins, which share a similar dentition. Many possible boreopterids were subsequently described, one possible example being Aetodactylus, which has been claimed to be similar to Boreopterus. 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. 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.
Cladogram following Andres, Clark, & Xu, 2014.
Cladogram following Andres & Myers, 2013.
- Lü Junchang, Ji Qiang, Wei Xuefang and Liu Yongqing (2011). "A new ctenochasmatoid pterosaur from the Early Cretaceous Yixian Formation of western Liaoning, China". Cretaceous Research 34. doi:10.1016/j.cretres.2011.09.010.
- Mark Witton, 2011
- 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.
- Andres, B.; Myers, T. S. (2013). "Lone Star Pterosaurs". Earth and Environmental Science Transactions of the Royal Society of Edinburgh: 1. doi:10.1017/S1755691013000303.
- 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.
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