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Temporal range: Early Cretaceous, 120 Ma
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Order: Pterosauria
Suborder: Pterodactyloidea
Clade: Neopterodactyloidea
Genus: Eoazhdarcho
Lü & Ji, 2005
E. liaoxiensis
Binomial name
Eoazhdarcho liaoxiensis
Lü & Ji, 2005

Eoazhdarcho is a genus of azhdarchoid pterodactyloid pterosaur named in 2005 by Chinese paleontologists Lü Junchang and Ji Qiang. The type and only known species is Eoazhdarcho liaoxiensis. The fossil was found in the Aptian-age Lower Cretaceous Jiufotang Formation of Chaoyang, Liaoning, China.


The genus name, Eoazhdarcho, combines a Greek eos, "dawn" with the name of the genus Azhdarcho, with the implication it was an early related form of the latter. The specific name, liaoxiensis, refers to the ancient region Liaoxi.[1]


Eoazhdarcho is based on holotype GMN-03-11-02, a partial skeleton and lower jaw, and is distinguished from other pterosaurs by the proportions of its bones. The metacarpals are very elongated but the cervical vertebrae and hind limbs are not. It was relatively small by azhdarchoid standards, with a wingspan of about 1.6 meters (5.2 feet).[1]


The describers first assigned Eoazhdarcho to the Azhdarchidae in a basal position, and compared it to Azhdarcho.[1] However, in 2006 they published a cladistic analysis, determining that several forms, among them Eoazhdarcho, were united in a natural group, a separate clade that could be set apart from an Azhdarchidae proper.[2] In 2008 that clade was by Lü, Unwin and colleagues named the Chaoyangopteridae — the sister group of the Azhdarchidae within a much larger Azhdarchoidea — with Eoazhdarcho as one of the members.[3]

In 2014, a phylogenetic analysis conducted by Brian Andres and colleagues had recovered Eoazhdarcho as the basalmost member of the family Chaoyangopteridae, sister taxon to the subfamily Chaoyangopterinae. The cladogram of their analysis is presented on the left.[4] Later, in 2018, a phylogenetic analysis conducted by paleontologist Nicholas Longrich and colleagues had recovered Eoazhdarcho in a different position within the Neoazhdarchia, as a basal member of the clade Neopterodactyloidea.[5] The cladogram of their analysis is presented on the right:

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Lü, Junchang; Qiang Ji (2005). "New azhdarchid pterosaur from the Early Cretaceous of western Liaoning". Acta Geologica Sinica. 79 (3): 301–307. doi:10.1111/j.1755-6724.2005.tb00893.x. S2CID 128958556.
  2. ^ Lü, Junchang; Qiang Ji (2006). "Preliminary results of a phylogenetic analysis of the pterosaurs from western Liaoning and surrounding area" (PDF). Journal of the Paleontological Society of Korea. 22 (1): 239–261. Retrieved 2007-03-10.
  3. ^ Lü, J., Unwin, D.M., Xu, L., and Zhang, X. (2008). "A new azhdarchoid pterosaur from the Lower Cretaceous of China and its implications for pterosaur phylogeny and evolution." Naturwissenschaften, 95: 891–897
  4. ^ Andres, B.; Clark, J.; Xu, X. (2014). "The Earliest Pterodactyloid and the Origin of the Group". Current Biology. 24 (9): 1011–6. doi:10.1016/j.cub.2014.03.030. PMID 24768054.
  5. ^ Longrich, Nicholas R.; Martill, David M.; Andres, Brian; Penny, David (2018). "Late Maastrichtian pterosaurs from North Africa and mass extinction of Pterosauria at the Cretaceous-Paleogene boundary". PLOS Biology. 16 (3): e2001663. doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.2001663. PMC 5849296. PMID 29534059.

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