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Sinopterus is an extinct pterodactyloid of the Tapejaridae family that occupied Earth in the Lower or Early Cretaceous period around the Aptian-age in the Jiufotang Formation, Chaoyang, in present-day Western Liaoning, China. Zhou Zhonghe and Wang Xiaolin first named and described this genus. Two species are only considered valid even though there are three species in Sinopterus. These species lack teeth. These species have a large skull with a pointed, bird-like beak and also have a bony crest starting with a tall premaxilla extending back to the skull through the middle that overhangs at the rear of the skull. Sinopterus dongi, the type species, was named based on a specimen recovered in 2003. BPV-077 was the second specimen of Sinopterus described in the same year by Zhang, Lü, and Li, classifying this new Sinopterus skeletal remains into S. gui. Also, this species was smaller than the Sinopterus dongi. There are five species in total named within this genus, S. lingyuanensis, S. benxiensis, S. atavismus, S. gui, and S. jii. This genus is classified within the Tapejaridae family and Pterosauria order. The name Tapejaridae is from the Tupi language, which translates to 'the old being.' The dinosaur name Sinopterus means 'Chinese wing.'
No, Sinopterus was not a dinosaur, it was a flying reptile, a pterasaur.
The pronunciation of Sinopterus is 'Sih-nop-ter-us.'
The Sinopterus specimen represents almost complete and one of the earliest known species belonging to the suborder Pterodactyloidea, order Pterosauria, and phylum Chordata. This tapejarid species was arboreal and were common around other arboreal vertebrates' fossil sites. S. jii was the name given to the third specimen, which was previously named Huaxiapterus jii. This was because later studies showed that Huaxiapterus jii was a more close relative of species of Sinopterus than the species of Huaxiapterus, Huaxiapterus benxiensis, and Huaxiapterus corollatus. Also, a complete phylogenetic analysis indicated that Sinopterus might be an intermediate between the two species of Huaxiapterus and Huaxiapterus jii. Later studies also indicated that S. gui (Zhang, Lü, and Li) might represent a younger S. dongi specimen.
Sinopterus species were alive in the Early Cretaceous in the Aptian age in Jiufotang Formation around 120 million years ago.
The Sinopterus ('Chinese wing') of the Early Cretaceous period became extinct in the mass extinction event of the Cretaceous-Paleogene period around 66 million years ago.
The Sinopterus of the Lower cretaceous period occupied the Western Liaoning, China in the Jiufotang Formation.
The habitat of Sinopterus of the Lower Cretaceous period was terrestrial regions in modern-day China.
These species of the Early Cretaceous (Jiufotang Formation) might have also lived in groups like the other species of dinosaurs.
The maximum or the average age of these species of the Lower Cretaceous is not known.
The reproduction of these Lower Cretaceous species was oviparous. There is no information available on the breeding process, incubation, and parental care.
These Tapejarid species are studied from well-preserved remains of Sinopterus skeleton from China, which represent two species that are closely related, are fairly small in size, and short-tailed. These pterosaurs of the Lower Cretaceous period of China had a pointed birk-like beak and long bony crest extending from the tall premaxilla to the back through the middle of their large skull. IVPP V13363, of the type species Sinopterus dongi, is an almost complete skeleton with a large skull and long legs, and it was also noted that this holotype was the first of tapejarid to be recorded outside the regions of Brazil. The S. lingyuanensis differs from Sinopterus dongi and other species in this genus. The relative size of nasoantorbital fenestra, size of tibia and femur, and rostral index are different.
The number of bones in the skeleton of these pterosaur species of China is not yet known. However, the Sinopterus fossil remains make up an almost full skeleton with a skull, premaxilla, legs, forelimbs, and crest.
The mode of communication of these Sinopterus species is not known. However, they might have communicated through vocals, body language, and maybe eyesight like other flying creatures.
The size range of these Pterosauria creatures is not known. The Sinopterus skull size was 5-7 in (12-17 cm). The wingspan size was 40-47 in (100-120 cm) long. The wingspan size of the related Caupedactylus was almost three times that of the Sinopterus species, measuring 11 ft (3.3 m). These creatures were as big as a large house cat.
The flying speed of the Sinopterus is not known.
The weight of these pterosaurs is not known.
There is no particular term given to either male or female pterosaurs.
There is no specific name given to the baby Sinopterus.
The diet of pterosaurs was omnivorous. It included fruits, seeds, insects, crustaceans, fish, and small vertebrae. Direct fossil evidence in this species shows that they fed on plants with the presence of seeds in their abdominal cavity.
There is no information on the aggressiveness of these pterosaurs.
The members of the family Tapejaridae were found across ancient regions of Morocco, Brazil, Spain, England, the United States, China, and Hungary. The most basal genera were all found in China, indicating that these species were primarily from Aisa.
The occlusal margin's morphology indicates that Whightia had a closer relationship with Sinopterus than any other tapejarids of South America. Whightia decllivirrostris is the only species within this genus. The term Whightia refers to the Isle of Wight in England where the fossil of this species was recovered. The specific scientific term consists of two Latin elements, declivis meaning 'inclining downwards' and rostrym meaning 'snout,' which is 'slanting beak' in reference to their typical tapejarids snout kink. The holotype of this species is named IWCSM. 2020. 401., and was recovered from the Wessex Formation's layer that dates back to Barremain times.
The term Sinopterus means 'Chinese wing.'
All dinosaurs were equipped with one or more defending features on their bodies to help them survive against their predators. These species might have used their tall premaxilla to escape predators.
Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly prehistoric animal facts for everyone to discover! For more relatable content, check out these Zhenyuanopterus facts and Jeholornis facts for kids.
You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable Sinopterus coloring pages.
We've been unable to source an image of Sinopterus and have used an image of Tapejara instead. If you are able to provide us with a royalty-free image of Sinopterus, we would be happy to credit you. Please contact us at [email protected].
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