Temporal range: Early Cretaceous, 124.6Ma
Lü & Ji, 2005
|Species:||† B. cuiae|
Lü & Ji, 2005
The genus was in 2005 named by Lü Jinchang and Ji Qiang. The type species is Boreopterus cuiae. The genus name is derived from Greek boreios, "northern" and pteron, "wing". The specific epithet was chosen to dedicate Cui Xu.
The genus is based on holotype JZMP-04-07-3, a nearly complete but crushed skeleton and skull. The skull is 235 millimeters long (9.25 inches), low and elongated with a rounded tip. Its wingspan is estimated to have been around 1.45 meters (4.76 feet). Its teeth, especially the anterior nine pairs, are quite large for an ornithocheirid, forming a mesh of sharp teeth at the front of the mouth; the third and fourth teeth from the front are the largest. There are at least 27 teeth in each side of both the upper and lower jaws, which is a large amount.
Lü placed Boreopterus in the Ornithocheiridae. This was affirmed the same year by David Unwin. However, Lü in 2006 published a cladistic analysis showing Boreopterus to be the sister taxon of Feilongus in a position more basal than Haopterus. This would make it a basal member of Ornithocheiroidea sensu Unwin, a concept that Lü himself does not use, applying the terminology of Alexander Kellner in which Ornithocheiroidea is a far larger clade. A new publication by Lü has following this line of thought put Boreopterus and Feilongus into a new separate family, the Boreopteridae.
Ornithocheiroids like Boreopterus are interpreted by Unwin as soaring animals, like today's albatrosses and frigatebirds. However, it has also been suggested that boreopterids foraged while swimming, trapping small prey with their needle-like teeth, a method similar to that of modern Platanista dolphins.
- Junchang Lü; and Qiang Ji (2005). "A new ornithocheirid from the Early Cretaceous of Liaoning Province, China". Acta Geologica Sinica 79 (2): 157–163. doi:10.1111/j.1755-6724.2005.tb00877.x.
- Unwin, David M. (2006). The Pterosaurs: From Deep Time. New York: Pi Press. p. 272. ISBN 0-13-146308-X.
- Lü, Junchang; and Qiang Ji (2006). "Preliminary results of a phylogenetic analysis of the pterosaurs from western Liaoning and surrounding area". Journal of the Paleontological Society of Korea 22 (1): 239–261. Retrieved 2007-03-10.
- Junchang, Lü; Ji, S.; Yuan, C.; and Ji, Q. (2006). Pterosaurs from China (in Chinese). Beijing: Geological Publishing House. p. 147 p.
- Unwin, David M. (2006). "A tree for pterosaurs". The Pterosaurs: From Deep Time. New York: Pi Press. pp. 79–82. ISBN 0-13-146308-X.
- Mark Witton, 2011