Pterosauria

Reconstruction of Dimorphodon macronyx chasing a sphenodontian, copyright Mark P. Witton.

Belongs within: Ornithodira.
Contains: Novialoidea.

The Pterosauria are a highly distinctive group of reptiles known from the late Triassic to the end of the Cretaceous. They are most obviously characterised by the massive elongation of the forelimb, particularly the fourth digit, to support an extensive wing membrane (reinforced with radiating fibres known as aktinofibrils) that, together with a large and robust shoulder girdle, allowed for powered flight. Other distinctive features of pterosaurs include extensively pneumaticised bones, a slender bone known as the pteroid that probably articulated at the base of the wrist in a depression on the medial side of the preaxial carpal, and projected medially towards to body to support a small aerodynamic membrane (propatagium) at the front of the wing, and a clawless, sometimes reduced or loss, fifth digit on the hind foot (Witton 2013).

Faxinalipterus minima from the Carnian/Norian boundary of Brazil may represent the earliest known pterosaur but its remains are fragmentary (Witton 2013).

Pterosauria [Pterodermata, Rhamphorhynchida, Rhamphorhynchoidea, Rhamphorhynchoidei, Scaphognathoidea]
    |  i. s.: Comodactylus Galton 1981W91
    |           `--C. ostromi Galton 1981 (n. d.)CU03
    |         Laopteryx Marsh 1881U93
    |           `--L. priscus Marsh 1881 (n. d.)CU03
    |         Rhamphinion Padian 1984W91
    |           `--*R. jenkinsi Padian 1984W91
    |         ‘Odontorhynchus’ Stolley 1936 non Chevrolat 1880W91
    |           `--O. aculeatus Stolley 1936B93
    |         Faxinalipterus minimaW13
    |--Preondactylus Wild 1984U03
    |    `--*P. buffarinii Wild 1984DV03
    `--MacronychopteraU03
         |--DimorphodontidaeW13
         |    |--Peteinosaurus Wild 1978U03
         |    |    `--*P. zambellii Wild 1978DV03
         |    `--Dimorphodon Owen 1858A08
         |         |--D. macronyx (Buckland 1829)K03 [=Pterodactylus macronyxW91]
         |         `--D. weintraubiU03
         `--Caelidracones [Rhamphorhynchidae, Scaphognathinae]U03
              |--AnurognathidaeW13
              |    |--Anurognathus Döderlein 1923U03
              |    |    `--A. ammoni Döderlein 1923K03
              |    `--AsiaticognathidaeK03
              |         |--Dendrorhynchoides Ji et al. 1999U03 [incl. Dendrorhynchus Ji & Ji 1998 (preoc.)A08]
              |         |    `--D. curvidentatus (Ji & Ji 1998)K03
              |         |--Batrachognathus Riabinin 1948U03, A08
              |         |    `--*B. volans Riabinin 1948A08
              |         `--Jeholopterus Wan et al. 2002RK13, U03
              |              `--J. ningchenensisW13
              `--+--Austriadactylus Dalla Vecchia, Wild et al. 2002RK13, DV03
                 |    `--*A. cristatus Dalla Vecchia et al. 2002DV03
                 `--+--Sordes Sharov 1971RK13, U03
                    |    `--*S. pilosus Sharov 1971A08
                    `--+--Scaphognathus Wagner 1861RK13, U03
                       |    `--S. crassirostris (Goldfuss 1831) [=Pterodactylus crassirostris]W13
                       `--+--LonchognathaU03
                          |    |--NovialoideaRK13
                          |    `--+--Eudimorphodon Zambelli 1973RK13, U03 [Eudimorphodontidae]
                          |       |    |--*E. ranzii Zambelli 1973DV03
                          |       |    `--E. cromptonellus Jenkins et al. 2001DV03
                          |       `--+--Caviramus schesaplanensisRK13
                          |          `--*Raeticodactylus filisurensis (Stecher 2008)W13, RK13, W13 [=Caviramus filisurensisW13]
                          `--WukongopteridaeW13
                               |--Wukongopterus liiRK13
                               |--Kungpengopterus sinensisW13
                               |--Changchengopterus paniW13
                               |--Archaeoistiodactylus linglongtaensisW13
                               |--Cuspicephalus scarfiW13
                               `--Darwinopterus Lü, Unwin et al. 2010W13
                                    |--*D. modularis Lü, Unwin et al. 2010W13
                                    |--D. linglongtaensisW13
                                    `--D. robustodensW13

*Type species of generic name indicated

References

[A08] Averianov, A. O. 2008. Superorder Pterosauria. In: Ivakhnenko, M. F., & E. N. Kurochkin (eds) Fossil Vertebrates of Russia and Adjacent Territories. Fossil Reptiles and Birds. Part 1 pp. 319–342. GEOS: Moscow.

[B93] Benton, M. J. 1993. Reptilia. In: Benton, M. J. (ed.) The Fossil Record 2 pp. 681–715. Chapman & Hall: London.

[CU03] Carpenter, K., D. Unwin, K. Cloward, C. Miles & C. Miles. 2003. A new scaphognathine pterosaur from the Upper Jurassic Morrison Formation of Wyoming, USA. In: Buffetaut, E., & J.-M. Mazin (eds) Evolution and Palaeobiology of Pterosaurs. Geological Society Special Publications 217: 45–54. The Geological Society: London.

[DV03] Dalla Vecchia, F. M. 2003. New morphological observations on Triassic pterosaurs. In: Buffetaut, E., & J.-M. Mazin (eds) Evolution and Palaeobiology of Pterosaurs. Geological Society Special Publications 217: 23–44. The Geological Society: London.

[K03] Kellner, A. W. A. 2003. Pterosaur phylogeny and comments on the evolutionary history of the group. In: Buffetaut, E., & J.-M. Mazin (eds) Evolution and Palaeobiology of Pterosaurs. Geological Society Special Publications 217: 105–137. The Geological Society: London.

[RK13] Rodrigues, T., & A. W. A. Kellner. 2013. Taxonomic review of the Ornithocheirus complex (Pterosauria) from the Cretaceous of England. ZooKeys 308: 1–112.

[U93] Unwin, D. M. 1993. Aves. In: Benton, M. J. (ed.) The Fossil Record 2 pp. 717–737. Chapman & Hall: London.

[U03] Unwin, D. M. 2003. On the phylogeny and evolutionary history of pterosaurs. In: Buffetaut, E., & J.-M. Mazin (eds) Evolution and Palaeobiology of Pterosaurs. Geological Society Special Publications 217: 139–190. The Geological Society: London.

[W91] Wellnhofer, P. 1991. The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Pterosaurs.  Salamander Books: London (reprinted in: Norman, D., & P. Wellnhofer. 2000. The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Dinosaurs. Salamander Books).

[W13] Witton, M. P. 2013. Pterosaurs: Natural History, Evolution, Anatomy. Princeton University Press: Princeton (New Jersey).

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