Liaoningopterus was a pterosaur that lived during the Early Cretaceous in the Jiufotang Formation in Chaoyang, Liaoning, China. Liaoningopterus is known from a fragmentary skeleton that includes jaws, teeth, a cervical vertebra, and finger bones. Liaoningopterus was a huge pterosaur with a five-meter wingspan and an estimated skull length of 61 cm. The skull was long and flat, with low crests near the tip of the beak, as well as lower and upper jaws.
Teeth are only known from the front of the jaws, and they were exceptionally long; the fourth tooth recovered in the upper jaw was 8.1 centimetres long, while the biggest tooth discovered in the lower jaw was 4.1 centimetres long. There are approximately 20 teeth in the upper jaw and 13 to 14 teeth in the lower jaw.
Continue reading to discover more facts about Liaoningopterus.
1: Liaoningopterus quick facts:
Name: Liaoningopterus (Greek for “Liaoning Wing”); pronounced Lee-ow-ning-op-teh-rus
When it lived: Early Cretaceous, 120 million years ago
Type of dinosaur: Pterosaur
Habitat: Wetlands and aquatic habitats.
Wingspan/Weight: 5 meters/20kg
Distinguishing Characteristics: Narrow snout and robust teeth.
Named by: Wang & Zhou (2003)
2: How do you pronounce ‘Liaoningopterus’?
The name Liaoningopterus should be pronounced “Lee-ow-ning-op-teh-rus.”
3: What does the name Liaoningopterus mean?
The generic name for Liaoningopterus is taken from “Liaoning”; the species name is dedicated to Prof. Zhiwei Gu, an eminent Chinese invertebrate palaeontologist, for his contributions to the study of the Jehol Biota.
4: What Did Liaoningopterus Look Like?
The specimens of vertebrae and skull indicate that Liaoningopterus had an elongated body with a protruding snout. The top of their snout was symmetrical, and the border of their upper jaw was quite straight.
In both their upper and lower jaws, conical and curved teeth were present. The small snout and powerful teeth suggest that Liaoningopterus was a fish eater, catching fish near the surface of the water while flying.