In November 2008, Daisy Morris of Whitwell, Isle of Wight, a four-year-old avid natural history collector, discovered some small bones in a rock below the cliff face of Atherfield Point at the southwest coast of Wight. Her parents carefully collected all additional rocks with fossils in them that they could find at the site. In April 2009, Daisy's discovery was authenticated by palaeontologist Martin Simpson, from the University of Southampton. The Morris family donated the specimen to the Natural History Museum.
A scientific paper was published in 2013 about the find in the electronic journal PLoS ONE, titled A New Small-Bodied Azhdarchoid Pterosaur from the Lower Cretaceous of England and Its Implications for Pterosaur Anatomy, Diversity and Phylogeny. In it Darren Naish, Martin Simpson, and Gareth Dyke described and named the type species Vectidraco daisymorrisae. The generic name is derived from the Latin Vectis, the Roman name of the island now known as the Isle of Wight, and dracō, meaning "dragon". The specific name honours the discoverer Daisy Morris. A children's book has also been written by Simpson about Daisy Morris's discovery, called Daisy and the Isle of Wight Dragon.
The only known specimen, holotype NHMUK PV R36621, was uncovered in the Chale Clay Member of the Atherfield Clay Formation of the Lower Greensand Group, a clay layer of the Deshayesites forbesi zone, Deshayesites fittoni subzone, dating from the early Aptian, with an age of 124 million years. It consists of the left side of a pelvis, the right ischium, the rear dorsal vertebra and the first three sacral vertebrae, of a subadult or adult individual.
Vectidraco is a relatively small pterosaur. The pelvis is four centimetres long as preserved. Vectidraco's wingspan was estimated at seventy-five centimetres, its total body length at thirty-five centimetres. In view of its affinities, the describing authors assumed it was a toothless form, featuring a crest on its snout.
Several unique derived traits, autapomorphies, were established. The hip joint is bordered at its top rear corner by a triangular depression. This depression is overhung by a ridge running downwards to the rear. The front blade of the ilium features an undivided roughly oval depression at its front inner side, below a convex surface. Furthermore a unique combination of traits is present in that the elongated rear blade of the ilium is T-shaped, terminating in a wide expansion also projecting upwards, that is longer than the shaft of the rear blade itself.
Damage to the ilium shows the presence of camellate bone, internal air chambers. Also all the preserved vertebrae are pneumatised.
|Holotype NHMUK PV R36621|
Naish et al., 2013
Naish et al., 2013
Anhanguera robustus is a large pterosaur species known from fossil remains dating to the Early Cretaceous Period of South America.Anurognathidae
The Anurognathidae were a family of small pterosaurs, with short or absent tails, that lived in Europe, Asia, and possibly North America during the Jurassic and Cretaceous periods. Five genera are known: Anurognathus, from the Late Jurassic of Germany; Jeholopterus, from the Middle to Late Jurassic of China; Dendrorhynchoides, from the Middle Jurassic of China; Batrachognathus, from the Late Jurassic of Kazakhstan; and Vesperopterylus, from the Early Cretaceous of China. Bennett (2007) claimed that the holotype of Mesadactylus, BYU 2024, a synsacrum, belonged to an anurognathid. Mesadactylus is from the Late Jurassic Morrison Formation of the United States. Indeterminate anurognathid remains have also been reported from the Middle Jurassic Bakhar Svita of Mongolia.Anurognathus
Anurognathus is a genus of small pterosaur that lived during the late Jurassic Period (Tithonian stage). Anurognathus was first named and described by Ludwig Döderlein in 1923. The type species is Anurognathus ammoni. The genus name Anurognathus is derived from the Greek αν/an- ("without"), оυρα/oura ("tail"), and γναθος/gnathos ("jaw") in reference to its unusually small tail relative to other "rhamphorhynchoid" (i.e. basal) pterosaurs. The specific name ammoni honours the Bavarian geologist Ludwig von Ammon, from whose collection Döderlein had acquired the fossil in 1922.Atherfield Clay Formation
The Atherfield Clay Formation is a Geological formation in Southern England. Part of the Lower Greensand Group it dates to the Aptian age of the Early Cretaceous. The deposit is of marine origin largely consisting of mudstones. The pterosaur Vectidraco is known from the formation.Azhdarchoidea
Azhdarchoidea is a group of pterosaurs within the suborder Pterodactyloidea.Batrachognathus
Batrachognathus is an extinct genus of "rhamphorhynchoid" pterosaur from the Late Jurassic (Oxfordian - Kimmeridgian) Karabastau Svita of the central Asian republic of Kazakhstan. The genus was named in 1948 by the Russian paleontologist Anatoly Nicolaevich Ryabinin. The type species is Batrachognathus volans. The genus name is derived from Greek batrakhos, "frog" and gnathos, "jaw", in reference to the short wide head. The specific epithet means "flying" in Latin.Changchengopterus
Changchengopterus is a genus of non-pterodactyloid pterosaur from China, Qinglong County, Hebei Province.
The fossil specimen, holotype CYGB-0036, of the type and only species, Changchengopterus pani, was found in the Tiaojishan Formation dating from the Callovian and named and described by Lü Junchang in 2009. The generic name combines the Changcheng, the Great Wall of China, with a Latinised Greek pteron, "wing". The specific name honours Pan Lijun, who collected the fossil and donated it to science. The holotype, a skeleton lacking the skull, represents a young juvenile, of which the combined paired wing elements measure just seventeen centimetres. In 2011, a second specimen was described, PMOL-AP00010, acquired in 2008 by the Paleontological Museum of Liaoning. It consists of a skeleton with lower jaws, of an adult individual.The wingspan of the referred specimen was in 2011 estimated at seventy centimetres. Already in 2010, some estimates for the genus had risen to 475 millimetres (18.7 in).In his original description, Lü's phylogenetic analysis concluded that Changchengopterus was a primitive pterosaur closely related to the earlier European pterosaur Dorygnathus, and he placed it in Rhamphorhynchidae. However, a subsequent study by Wang and colleagues (2010) noted some similarities with the wukongopterids, and they tentatively placed it in that family. Andres & Myers (2013) found it to be outside Wukongopteridae and slightly more closely related to the pterodactyloids within the larger group Monofenestrata.Cuspicephalus
Cuspicephalus is an extinct genus of monofenestratan pterosaur known from Dorset in England.Darwinopterus
Darwinopterus (meaning "Darwin's wing") is a genus of pterosaur, discovered in China and named after biologist Charles Darwin. Between 30 and 40 fossil specimens have been identified, all collected from the Tiaojishan Formation, which dates to the middle Jurassic period, 160.89–160.25 Ma ago. The type species, D. modularis, was described in February 2010. D. modularis was the first known pterosaur to display features of both long-tailed ('rhamphorhynchoid') and short-tailed (pterodactyloid) pterosaurs, and was described as a transitional fossil between the two groups. Two additional species, D. linglongtaensis and D. robustodens, were described from the same fossil beds in December 2010 and June 2011, respectively.Dendrorhynchoides
Dendrorhynchoides was a genus of anurognathid pterosaur containing two species known from the Middle Jurassic Tiaojishan Formation of Qinglong, northern Hebei Province, China.
The genus was first named Dendrorhynchus in 1998 by Ji Shu'an and Ji Qiang, but that name proved to be preoccupied by a parasitic protozoan named in 1920 by David Keilin. It was therefore renamed in 1999. The type species is Dendrorhynchoides curvidentatus. The genus name is derived from Greek dendron, "tree" and rhynkhos, "snout" in reference to it being assumed a tree-dweller and presumed a close relative of Rhamphorhynchus. The specific name means "curved-toothed" in Latin. A second species, D. mutoudengensis, was described in 2012.Eopteranodon
Eopteranodon (meaning "dawn Pteranodon (toothless wing)") is a genus of tapejarid pterosaur from the Aptian-age Lower Cretaceous Yixian Formation of Beipaio City, Liaoning, China. The genus was named in 2005 by Lü Junchang and Zhang Xingliao. The type species is Eopteranodon lii.
It is based on the type specimen or holotype BPV-078, an incomplete skeleton and skull. Its skull, including a large crest, was toothless and similar to that of Pteranodon. The skull lacks the point of the snout but it was in life less than 200 millimeters long (7.9 inches), and the animal had a wingspan of about 1.1 meters (3.6 feet). A second specimen, D2526, described in 2006, had a larger wingspan. Despite its similarities to Pteranodon, Eopteranodon was not placed into a family by its describers, who put it into the clade Pteranodontia as incertae sedis (uncertain position).Shortly thereafter, a phylogenetic study of all known Yixian pterosaurs by the same scientists found it to be close to the azhdarchoids, noted for the crested genera Tapejara and Tupuxuara, and the giant, long-necked Quetzalcoatlus. A further analysis of other recently discovered forms, in 2006 still considered basal to (having split off earlier than) azhdarchoids, helped the original authors, along with David Unwin, to place these species together with Eopteranodon in a new clade Chaoyangopteridae, the possible sister group of the Azhdarchidae. However, in 2017, it was considered a member of the Tapejaridae based on proportions of the crest on the lower jaw and the limbs.The cladogram below follows a 2018 analysis by Longrich and colleagues.Jeholopterus
Jeholopterus was a small anurognathid pterosaur from the Middle to Late Jurassic Daohugou Beds of the Tiaojishan Formation of Inner Mongolia, China, preserved with hair-like pycnofibres and skin remains.Mesadactylus
Mesadactylus ('mesa finger') is an extinct genus of pterosaur from the Kimmeridgian-Tithonian-age Upper Jurassic Morrison Formation of Colorado, United States. The genus was named in 1989 by James Jensen and Kevin Padian. The type species is Mesadactylus ornithosphyos.Monofenestrata
The Monofenestrata are an unranked group of pterosaurs that includes the family Wukongopteridae and the suborder Pterodactyloidea.The clade Monofenestrata was in 2009/2010 defined as the group consisting of Pterodactylus and all species sharing with Pterodactylus the synapomorphy, shared derived trait, of an external nostril confluent with the antorbital fenestra, the major skull opening on the side of the snout. The name is derived from Greek monos, "single", and Latin fenestra, "window". The concept was inspired by the discovery of Darwinopterus, a species combining a pterodactyloid-type skull with a more basal build of the remainder of the body. The Darwinoptera, a primitive subgroup of monofenestratans showing this transitional anatomy, was also named for Darwinopterus and defined as all descendants of its common ancestor with Pterorhynchus.The earliest known monofenestrate fossils have been found in the Stonesfield Slate formation of the United Kingdom, which dates to the Bathonian stage of the Middle Jurassic, dated to about 166 million years ago. Identified elements include cervical vertebrae, fourth metacarpals and a possible pterodactyloid synsacrum. Below is a cladogram showing the results of a phylogenetic analysis presented by Andres, Clark & Xu, 2014. This study found the two traditional groupings of ctenochasmatoids and kin as an early branching group, with all other pterodactyloids grouped into the Eupterodactyloidea.Pterodaustro
Pterodaustro is a genus of Cretaceous pterodactyloid pterosaur from South America, which lived 105 million years ago.Quetzalcoatlus
Quetzalcoatlus northropi is a pterosaur known from the Late Cretaceous of North America (Maastrichtian stage) and one of the largest known flying animals of all time. It is a member of the family Azhdarchidae, a family of advanced toothless pterosaurs with unusually long, stiffened necks. Its name comes from the Mesoamerican feathered serpent god, Quetzalcoatl.Vesperopterylus
Vesperopterylus (meaning "dusk wing") is a genus of anurognathid pterosaur from the Early Cretaceous of China, the geologically youngest member of its group. Notably, Vesperopterylus appears to have a reversed first toe, which would have been suited for gripping; it was likely arboreal, climbing or clinging to tree branches with curved, sharp claws. It also has a relatively short tail, in contrast with its tailless (Jeholopterus) and long-tailed (Dendrorhynchoides) relatives. It was first described and named by Lü Junchang et al. While the original spelling of the name was Versperopterylus, this was a typo, and was emended by the authors in accordance with the International Code of Zoological Nomenclature.Wukongopteridae
The Wukongopteridae are a group of basal pterosaurs, found in China and the UK. It contains seven species in five genera, all dated to the middle Jurassic period,The Wukongopteridae were first named by Wang et al. in 2009, not yet giving an exact definition. The clade Wukongopteridae was first defined by Wang et al. in 2010 as "the most recent common ancestor of Wukongopterus lii and Kunpengopterus sinensis, and all of its descendants".Wukongopterus
Wukongopterus is a genus of basal pterosaur, found in Liaoning, China, from the Daohugou Beds, of the Middle or Late Jurassic. It was unusual for having both an elongate neck and a long tail.
The genus was described and named in 2009 by Wang Xiaolin, Alexander Kellner, Jiang Shunxing and Meng Xi. The genus name is derived from Sun Wukong, the Monkey King, the main hero of the Chinese classic novel Journey to the West, and a Latinised Greek pteron, "wing". The specific name honours Li Yutong, senior preparator of the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology (IVPP).The genus is based on holotype IVPP V15113, a nearly complete but compressed skeleton lacking the back and middle of the skull. The type individual appears to have broken its shin during life. Its wingspan is estimated at 730 millimetres (29 in). Wukongopterus also may have had an uropatagium, a membrane between the hind legs.