Fun Sinopterus Facts For Kids

Arpitha Rajendra
Nov 29, 2022 By Arpitha Rajendra
Originally Published on Sep 30, 2021
Edited by Jacob Fitzbright
Read more interesting Sinopterus facts here.
Age: 3-18
Read time: 5.8 Min

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.'

If you enjoyed reading these cool facts about the Sinopterus, then make sure to check out these fun facts about the Argentavis and Ludodactylus on Kidadl.

Sinopterus Interesting Facts

Was the Sinopterus a dinosaur?

No, Sinopterus was not a dinosaur, it was a flying reptile, a pterasaur.

How do you pronounce 'Sinopterus'?

The pronunciation of Sinopterus is 'Sih-nop-ter-us.'

What type of prehistoric flying bird was a Sinopterus?

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.

In which geological period did the Sinopterus live?

Sinopterus species were alive in the Early Cretaceous in the Aptian age in Jiufotang Formation around 120 million years ago.

When did the Sinopterus become extinct?

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.

Where did a Sinopterus live?

The Sinopterus of the Lower cretaceous period occupied the Western Liaoning, China in the Jiufotang Formation.

What was a Sinopterus' habitat?

The habitat of Sinopterus of the Lower Cretaceous period was terrestrial regions in modern-day China.

Who did a Sinopterus live with?

These species of the Early Cretaceous (Jiufotang Formation) might have also lived in groups like the other species of dinosaurs.

How long did a Sinopterus live?

The maximum or the average age of these species of the Lower Cretaceous is not known.

How did they reproduce?

The reproduction of these Lower Cretaceous species was oviparous. There is no information available on the breeding process, incubation, and parental care.

Sinopterus Fun Facts

What did a Sinopterus look like?

Sinopterus creatures lived in forested regions with abundant food sources with yews and ginkgoes.
We've been unable to source an image of Sinopterus and have used an image of Bakonydraco 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

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.

How many bones did a Sinopterus have?

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.

How did they communicate?

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.

How big was a Sinopterus?

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.

How fast could a Sinopterus fly?

The flying speed of the Sinopterus is not known.

How much did a Sinopterus weigh?

The weight of these pterosaurs is not known.

What were the male and female names of the species?

There is no particular term given to either male or female pterosaurs.

What would you call a baby Sinopterus?

There is no specific name given to the baby Sinopterus.

What did they eat?

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.

How aggressive were they?

There is no information on the aggressiveness of these pterosaurs.

Did you know...

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.

What does Sinopterus mean?

The term Sinopterus means 'Chinese wing.'

How did the Sinopterus protect itself?

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

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Written by Arpitha Rajendra

Bachelor of Engineering specializing in Aeronautical/Aerospace Technology, Master of Business Administration specializing in Management

Arpitha Rajendra picture

Arpitha RajendraBachelor of Engineering specializing in Aeronautical/Aerospace Technology, Master of Business Administration specializing in Management

With a background in Aeronautical Engineering and practical experience in various technical areas, Arpitha is a valuable member of the Kidadl content writing team. She did her Bachelor's degree in Engineering, specializing in Aeronautical Engineering, at Nitte Meenakshi Institute of Technology in 2020. Arpitha has honed her skills through her work with leading companies in Bangalore, where she contributed to several noteworthy projects, including the development of high-performance aircraft using morphing technology and the analysis of crack propagation using Abaqus XFEM.

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