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New Jehol Group pterosaurs: Feilongus (Yixian gallodactylid-relative) and Nurhachius (Jiufotang istiodactylid)



>From today's Nature:

Wang, X., A.W.A. Kellner, Z. Zhou & D. de Almeida Campos. 2005. Pterosaur 
diversity and faunal turnover in Cretaceous terrestrial
ecosystems in China. Nature 437:875-879.

Feilongus youngi (C.C. Young's flying dragon) is based on a beautiful skull 
from the Yixian. It's an archaeopterodactyloid, close to
Gallodactylus. Skull length ~40 cm, wingspan estimated at 2.4 m. Two small 
saggital crests (one on the premaxilla, one on the
parietal).

Nurhacius ignaciobritoi (after Brazilian paleontologist Ignacio M. Brito and 
Nurhaci, founder of the Ch'ing dynasty [who makes a
special guest appearance in the beginning of "Indiana Jones & the Temple of 
Doom"]) is based on a good part of a skeleton. It is
VERY similar to Istiodactylus.

As the authors point out:
"the Jehol Group comprises two distinct pterosaur faunae. The Yixian Formation 
contains the primitive Anurognathidae and
Rhamphorhynchidae, several archaeopterodactyloids and one derived 
pterodactyloid (the tapejarid Sinopterus), which is a very unusual
mixture of faunal elements. The Jiufotang Formation comprises derived 
pterodactyloids such as Istiodactylidae, Tapejaridae,
Anhangueridae and possible pteranodontids (Chaoyangopterus and 'Jidapterus'). 
Combined, the Jehol Group shows a wide range of
pterosaur groups, a diversity not matched by any other region." They go on to 
say it's like finding the Santana directly on top of
the Solnhofen, with only about 5 myr represented overall.

Cool stuff.

                Thomas R. Holtz, Jr.
        Senior Lecturer, Vertebrate Paleontology
Department of Geology           Director, Earth, Life & Time Program
University of Maryland          College Park Scholars
        Mailing Address:
                Building 237, Room 1117
                College Park, MD  20742

http://www.geol.umd.edu/~tholtz/
http://www.geol.umd.edu/~jmerck/eltsite
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