Apatorhamphus
Temporal range: Early-Late Cretaceous, Albian–Cenomanian
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Order: Pterosauria
Suborder: Pterodactyloidea
Family: Chaoyangopteridae (?)
Genus: Apatorhamphus
McPhee et al., 2020
Type species
Apatorhamphus gyrostega
McPhee et al., 2020

Apatorhamphus is an extinct genus of azhdarchoid pterosaur from the Kem Kem Group of Morocco. It might have been part of the Chaoyangopteridae.[1] It is only known from a few snout fragments and it likely had a wingspan of between 3–7 metres (9.8–23.0 ft)

Discovery and naming

During a visit in 2016 to the Tafilalt phosphate mine on the Aferdou N'Chaft plateau, near Hassi el Begaa, in Er Rachidia, British paleontologist David Michael Martill bought a piece of jaw from a pterosaur from miners. They had dug a tunnel in a thin fossil-containing layer on the edge of a quarry and illegal finds were offered for sale there.

In 2020, the new genus and species Apatorhamphus gyrostega was named and described by James McPhee, Nizar Ibrahim, Alex Kao, David M. Unwin, Roy Smith, and David M. Martill. The genus name is derived from Ancient Greek apatos, "deceptive", and ramphos, "snout", a reference to the difficulties one had in determining the taxonomic nature of the jaws and indeed whether it was an upper jaw or lower jaw. The species designation is a combination of the Greek gyros, "rounded", and stegè, "roof", a reference to the round cross section of the top of the muzzle.

The holotype, FSAC-KK 5010, was found in the Kem Kem Formation in Morocco, which dates to the Albian to Cenomanian of the Cretaceous. It consists of a large snout fragment.

McPhee and Martill referred various earlier finds to the species. This concerns the specimens FSAC-KK 5011, FSAC-KK 5012 and FSAC-KK 5013, found at Begaa in Morocco; the FSAC-KK 5014 specimen, also in a Moroccan collection but of unknown origin; BSP 1993 IX 338, a snout found in 1993, reported as a possible pteranodontian in 1999 and assigned to Alanqa in 2010; and CMN 50859, a lower jaw identified in 2011 as a possible member of the Dsungaripteroidea.

References

  1. ^ James McPhee; Nizar Ibrahim; Alex Kao; David M. Unwin; Roy Smith; David M. Martill (2020). "A new ?chaoyangopterid (Pterosauria: Pterodactyloidea) from the Cretaceous Kem Kem beds of Southern Morocco". Cretaceous Research. 110: Article 104410. doi:10.1016/j.cretres.2020.104410.