Temporal range: Early Cretaceous
Dsungaripterus weii 01.jpg
Reconstructed skeleton
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Order: Pterosauria
Suborder: Pterodactyloidea
Family: Dsungaripteridae
Genus: Dsungaripterus
Young, 1964
D. weii
Binomial name
Dsungaripterus weii
Young, 1964

Dsungaripterus is a genus of pterosaur, with an average wingspan of 3 metres (9.8 ft).[1] It lived during the Early Cretaceous, in China, where the first fossil was found in the Junggar Basin.


Restoration of Dsungaripterus (above) and the related Noripterus

Dsungaripterus weii had a wing span of 3 to 3.5 metres (9.8-11.5 ft). Like most dsungaripteroids it had a rather robust skeleton with thick walls and stouty bodily proportions, suggesting a mostly terrestrial lifestyle. The flight style of these animals is unclear, but it was probably punctuated by abrupt landings and extensive flapping.[2]

Its skull, forty to fifty centimetres long, bore a low bone crest that ran down from the base of the skull to halfway to the beak. Dsungaripterus's head and neck were together almost a meter long. Its most notable feature are its long, narrow, upcurved jaws with a pointed tip. It had no teeth in the front part of its jaws, which were probably used to remove prey from cracks in rocks or/and the sandy, muddy inland environments it inhabited. It had knobbly flat teeth more to the back of the jaw that were well suited for crushing the armor of shellfish or other hard objects.[1]

It had a palate similar to that of azhdarchoid pterosaurs.[3]

History of discovery

Dsungaripterus was described in 1964 named by Yang Zhongjian. The genus name combines a reference to the Junggar Basin with a Latinized Greek pteron, "wing". The type species is Dsungaripterus weii, the specific name honouring paleontologist C.M. Wei of the Palaeontological Division, Institute of Science, Bureau of Petroleum of Xinjiang. The holotype is IVPP V-2776, a partial skull and skeleton. From 1973 more material has been found including almost complete skulls.

In 1980 Peter Galton renamed Pterodactylus brancai (Reck 1931), a form from a late Jurassic African formation, into Dsungaripterus brancai, but the identification is now commonly rejected. In 1982 Natasha Bakhurina named a new species, Dsungaripterus parvus, based on a smaller skeleton from Mongolia. Later this was renamed into "Phobetor", a preoccupied name, and in 2009 concluded to be identical to Noripterus. In 2002 a Dsungaripterus wing finger phalanx was reported from Korea.


Skeletal restoration

Dsungaripterus was classified by Yang as a member of the Dsungaripteridae. Below is a cladogram showing the phylogenetic placement of Dsungaripterus within Neoazhdarchia from Andres and Myers (2013).[4]


Thalassodromeus sethi

Tupuxuara leonardii

Tupuxuara longicristatus


Domeykodactylus ceciliae

Dsungaripterus weii

Noripterus complicidens

Noripterus parvus


Eoazhdarcho liaoxiensis

Shenzhoupterus chaoyangensis

Chaoyangopterus zhangi

Jidapterus edentus

Radiodactylus langstoni


Azhdarcho lancicollis

TMM 42489

Zhejiangopterus linhaiensis

Arambourgiania philadelphiae

Quetzalcoatlus northropi

Quetzalcoatlus sp.

See also


  1. ^ a b Palmer, D., ed. (1999). The Marshall Illustrated Encyclopedia of Dinosaurs and Prehistoric Animals. London: Marshall Editions. p. 105. ISBN 1-84028-152-9.
  2. ^ Witton, Mark (2013). Pterosaurs: Natural History, Evolution, Anatomy. Princeton University Press. p. 51. ISBN 978-0691150611.
  3. ^ https://peerj.com/articles/8741/
  4. ^ Andres, B.; Myers, T. S. (2013). "Lone Star Pterosaurs". Earth and Environmental Science Transactions of the Royal Society of Edinburgh: 1. doi:10.1017/S1755691013000303.