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1 November 2010 New Pterosaur Fossils from the Early Cretaceous (Albian) of Queensland, Australia
Tamara L. Fletcher, Steven W. Salisbury
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Pterosaur fossils from Australia are rare. All the specimens that have been described previously are Cretaceous in age, with the majority deriving from the Aptian—Albian shallow marine succession within the Eromanga Basin of western Queensland. The Queensland specimens have tentatively been referred to the pterodactyloid clades Pteranodontidae, Ornithocheiridae, and Archaeopterodactyloidea (cf. Ctenochasmatoidea), each in varying taxonomic guises. Due to their fragmentary nature, more specific referrals of these specimens have not been possible. As such, the overall composition and more precise relationships of Australia's Cretaceous pterosaur fauna have remained enigmatic. Since 1987, a number of new pterosaur specimens have been found in the shallow marine late Albian rocks of the Eromanga Basin of western Queensland. Four of these specimens are described herein: a partial mandible, a metacarpal IV, a wing phalanx, and a humerus. The mandible is assigned to Ornithocheiridae, gen. et sp. indet., whereas the metacarpal and wing phalanx are assigned Ornithocheiridae cf. Anhanguera. The morphology of the humerus suggests that it may belong to a ctenochasmatoid lophocratian. Based on these findings, we hypothesize that Australia's Early Cretaceous pterosaur fauna comprises a mix of taxa already known to occur in Europe and South America in addition to a slightly younger ctenochasmatoid. However, the older specimens may alternatively represent new taxa that combine cranial characteristics of an Ornithocheirus-like taxon or a closely related form, with an Anhanguera-like postcranium. A more precise characterization of Australia's Cretaceous pterosaur fauna cannot be resolved until more complete specimens are found.

© 2010 by the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology
Tamara L. Fletcher and Steven W. Salisbury "New Pterosaur Fossils from the Early Cretaceous (Albian) of Queensland, Australia," Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology 30(6), 1747-1759, (1 November 2010).
Received: 25 January 2010; Accepted: 1 August 2010; Published: 1 November 2010

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