Temporal range: 105 Ma Lower Cretaceous
|Possible Siroccopteryx tooth.|
Mader & Kellner, 1999
Coloborhynchus moroccensis (Mader & Kellner, 1999)
Siroccopteryx is an extinct genus of pterodactyloid pterosaur, known from middle Cretaceous (between the Albian and Cenomanian stages, about 105 million years ago) sediments in Morocco. Some researchers, such as David Unwin, consider the genus a junior synonym of Coloborhynchus.
The genus was named and described in 1999 by Bryn Mader and Alexander Kellner. The name Siroccopteryx means "wing of the Sirocco", referring to the warm wind that originates in the North Africa and then goes through the Mediterranean, and the Greek word pteryx, a standard suffix for pterosaur genera that means "wing". The epithet of the type species S. moroccensis refers to its country of origin.
This pterosaur is known only from the front part of the jaw with teeth. The holotype fossil, LINHM 016 (Long Island Natural History Museum), was found near Ksar es Souk, in the province of Errachidia in the region of Meknes-Tafilalet at 30.4 ° N, 4.9 ° longitude (17.6 ° N, 4.2 ° W longitude) in Beg'aa, west of Hamada du Guiren in southeastern Morocco, in a layer of red sandstone, a fine-grained alluvium from the Albian-Cenomanian. It consists of front teeth and a snout that not compressed. The muzzle was long and narrow, with a large elongated terminal part, with a sort of shaped crest anterior keel highest that of Anhanguera but not as high as that of Coloborhynchus or Tropeognathus. The teeth were sharp but short and more robust than in Anhanguera. The bone is rough and leathery, with strange marks of wrinkles and depressions, this may be a consequence of the conditions of preservation, but the descriptors suggest that indicate a disease, possibly caused by dental abscesses. According to André Veldmeijer, is probably that this damage was post-mortem and indicate the presence of a horn cover in the ridge.
The wingspan of this large pterosaur should be four to five meters. It is likely that this animal was a specialized glider, and ventured into the sea off the coast of Africa, to capture fishes and other prey that swim near the surface.
The descriptors of Siroccopteryx placed this genus in the family Anhangueridae sensu Kellner. David Unwin suggested in 2001 that it was a species of Coloborhynchus, and thus a member of the Ornithocheiridae. This has been controversial. In the same year, Michael Fastnacht suggested it was closer to Anhanguera. Kellner and Rodrigues (2009) considered Siroccopteryx a distinct genus, and suggested that it formed a clade with Coloborhynchus clavirostris and Uktenadactylus.
- Mader, BJ & Kellner, Alexander W. A. (1999). "A new pterosaur from the Cretaceous of Morocco". Boletim do Museu Nacional, Nova série, Geologia. 45: 1–11.
- Nizar Ibrahim, David M. Unwin, David M. Martill, Lahssen Baidder, Samir Zouhri (2010). "A new pterosaur (Pterodactyloidea: Azhdarchidae) from the Upper Cretaceous of Morocco". PLoS ONE. 5: e10875. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0010875. PMC . PMID 20520782.
- Mader, B. J. and Alexander W. A. Kellner (1997). "First occurrence of Anhangueridae (Pterosauria, Pterodactyloidea) in Africa". Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology. 17 (Suppl. 3): 62A. doi:10.1080/02724634.1997.10011028.
- Unwin, David M. (2001). "An overview of the pterosaur assemblage from the Cambridge Greensand (Cretaceous) of eastern England". Fossil Record. 4: 189–221. doi:10.1002/mmng.20010040112.
- Frey, Eberhard; Martill, David M.; Buchy, Marie-Céline (2003). "A new crested ornithocheirid from the Lower Cretaceous of northeastern Brazil and the unusual death of an unusual pterosaur". In Eric Buffetaut and Mazin Jean-Michel. Evolution and Palaeobiology of Pterosaurs. London: The Geological Society. pp. 55–63. ISBN 1-86239-143-2.
- Rodrigues, Taissa & Alexander W. A. Kellner (2009). "Review of the pterosaur pterodactyloid Coloborhynchus". Zitteliana B. 28: 219–228.