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Sinopterus in English

The new issue of Chinese Science Bulletin (Jan. 2003) is 
out online at www.scichina.com. Here are the English ref,  
abstract and caption for Sinopterus. Note that the 
official date is 2002 for the original Chinese description.

WANG Xiaolin & ZHOU Zhonghe 2002 (2003). A new pterosaur 
(Pterodactyloidea, Tapejaridae) from the Early Cretaceous 
Jiufotang Formation of western Liaoning, China and its 
implications for biostratigraphy. Chinese Science Bulletin 
48 (1): 16-23. (Jan. 2003)

Abstract In this article we describe a new and 
exceptionally well-preserved pterodactyloid pterosaur, 
Sinopterus dongi gen. et sp. nov. from the Jiufotang 
Formation in western Liaoning Province of northeast China. 
The new species is referred to the family Tapejaridae, 
representing its first record outside Brazil. It also 
represents the earliest occurrence as well as the most 
complete skeleton of the family. Some revisions are made 
about the family according to the morphological 
observations of the postcranial bones of Sinopterus. Two 
pterosaur assemblages appear to have existed in the Jehol 
Group, represented by the lower Yixian Formation and upper 
Jiufotang Formation, respectively. The lower pterosaur 
assemblage shows some resemblance to that of the Late 
Jurassic in Solnhofen (Tithonian) by sharing members of 
the Pterodactylidae and Anurognathidae. The upper one 
shows more resemblance to that of the Early Cretaceous 
Santana Formation (Aptian/Albian) by comprising only 
pterodactyloids such as the Tapejaridae. The age of the 
Yixian Formation is younger than that of the Solnhofen 
lithographic limestone, and the age of the Jiufotang 
Formation (Aptian) is slightly older than the Santana 
Cover: Sinopterus dongi gen. et sp. nov. is a nearly 
complete skeleton of a new pterosaur recently discovered 
from the Early Cretaceous Jiufotang Formation of western 
Liaoning Province of northeast China. It can be referred 
to the pterodactyloid family Tapejaridae. Sinopterus is a 
small to medium-sized edentulous pterosaur, with a 
wingspan of about 1.2 m. It has a very peculiar skull, 
with a bird-like pointed horny beak. It is also equipped 
with a large bony crest extending from the premaxilla to 
the posterior margin of the skull. It has a small orbit, 
but a very large nasopreorbital fenestra, which is nearly 
half the size of the skull. The skull of Sinopterus is 
strikingly large compared to its relatively small body 
size. It is probably an omnivorous animal, feeding on both 
fishes and seeds of angiosperms or gymnosperms. Sinopterus 
not only represents the first occurrence of the 
Tapejaridae outside Brazil but also the most complete 
skeleton as well as the earliest record of the family. The 
discovery of Sinopterus as well as many other unpublished 
pterodactyloids from the Jiufotang Formation suggests that 
there existed a new pterosaur assemblage in the Jehol 
Group, which bears a lot resemblance and links to that of 
the late Early Cretaceous in South America (see the text 
by Wang Xiaolin et al. on page 16; photo by Wang Xiaolin).

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