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Temporal range: Early Cretaceous, 120 Ma
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Order: Pterosauria
Suborder: Pterodactyloidea
Family: Istiodactylidae
Genus: Liaoxipterus
Dong & Lü, 2005
Species: L. brachyognathus
Binomial name
Liaoxipterus brachyognathus
Dong & Lü, 2005

Liaoxipterus is a genus of pterodactyloid pterosaur from the Barremian-Aptian-age Lower Cretaceous Jiufotang Formation of Chaoyang, Liaoning, China. The type species is Liaoxipterus brachyognathus. The genus name is derived from the discovery locality Liaoxi and a Latinised Greek pteron, "wing". The specific name is derived from Greek brachys, "short" and gnathos, "jaw".


The genus is based on holotype CAR-0018, an almost complete but crushed 161 millimetres long mandible (fused lower jaws), which differs from that of all known other ctenochasmatids in its short teeth and low tooth count (eleven per side). Also a detached hyoid is present.[1]

The jaw of Liaoxipterus had a rounded top filled with small, peg-like teeth. The shape of the teeth, and the anatomy of the hyoid (a bone that anchors the tongue muscles), suggest that it was an insect eater, and may even have had the capability to protrude its tongue in a manner similar to chameleons in order to catch insects.[2]


Liaoxipterus was originally classified by Dong Zhiming and Lü Jun-chang as a member of the Ctenochasmatidae. Wang and colleagues suggested in 2006 and 2008 that it was actually an istiodactylid instead,[3] an opinion that was accepted by Lü in 2015. In 2008 Lü concluded that Nurhachius was a subjective junior synonym of Liaoxipterus.[4] However, a 2012 analysis by Mark Witton found that these two istiodactylids were not identical and, more importantly, did not group together in a phylogenetic tree. Witton also noted that they did not actually group together in Lü's study either.[5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Dong, Z., and Lü, J. (2005). A New Ctenochasmatid Pterosaur from the Early Cretaceous of Liaoning Province. Acta Geologica Sinica 79(2):164-167.
  2. ^ "The Hyoid Apparatus of Liaoxipterus Brachycephalus (Pterosauria) and Its Implications for Food-catching Behavior". doi:10.3975/cagsb.2015.03.13 (inactive 2017-05-21). 
  3. ^ Xiaolin Wang; Diogenes de Almeida Campos; Zhonghe Zhou; Alexander W.A. Kellner (2008). "A primitive istiodactylid pterosaur (Pterodactyloidea) from the Jiufotang Formation (Early Cretaceous), northeast China". Zootaxa. 1813: 1–18. 
  4. ^ Lü, J., Xu, L. and Ji, Q. (2008), "Restudy of Liaoxipterus (Istiodactylidae: Pterosauria), with comments on the Chinese istiodactylid pterosaurs", In: Hone, D. W. E. and Buffetaut, E. (eds), Flugsaurier: pterosaur papers in honour of Peter Wellnhofer, Zitteliana B28: 229–241
  5. ^ Witton, Mark P. (2012). "New Insights into the Skull of Istiodactylus latidens (Ornithocheiroidea, Pterodactyloidea)". PLoS ONE. 7 (3): e33170. Bibcode:2012PLoSO...733170W. PMC 3310040Freely accessible. PMID 22470442. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0033170. 

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