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Boreopterus cuiae by MattMart Boreopterus cuiae by MattMart
Three specimens which probably represent growth stages of Boreopterus. From top to bottom, these have been assigned to the species Zhenyuanopterus longirostris (Lu 2010), Feilongus youngi (Wang et al. 2005), and Boreopterus cuiae (Lu & Ji 2005). The last was named several months before Feilongus, so it's the senior synonym if they're conspecific. All three are very similar and have been assigned to the family Boreopteridae, though Unwin considers them all to be growth stages of one species (in comments on the TetZoo article linked below).

Doing this reconstruction, it's obvious that Boreopterus and Zhenyuanopterus are identical save for ontogenetic and size-related differences. Feilongus, though, I'd like to see some more analysis on. For one thing, the crest extends nearly to the tip of the snout, and the teeth are all placed more anteriorly. This could all be a consequence of the 'intermediate' development stage, as well as the weird overbite, but it could also be a distinct species.

The boreopterids are members of the Ornithocheiroidea, if not Ornithocheridae proper. I gave them all larger crests than the're preserved with, especially the adult form. Several fossils show that in pterosaurs species with only very small ridges, the crests can extend very, very high from the skull, with the bone only forming the very base. New papers in the pipeline will show that these huge soft tissue crests are so widespread amongst both rhaphorhynchoid-grade and pterodactyloid pterosaurs, that it's probable all pterosaurs had large crests, regardless of whether or not they show boney support. This is actually pretty depressing, as we'll probably never know about 90% of the ridiculous headgear present even in otherwise well preserved species.

References:
* Junchang Lü; and Qiang Ji (2005). "A new ornithocheirid from the Early Cretaceous of Liaoning Province, China". Acta Geologica Sinica 79 (2): 157–163.
*Tetrapod Zoology article, see comments by Unwin: [link]
Skeletals:
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* [link]
:iconjohnfaa:
JohnFaa Featured By Owner Sep 22, 2010  Student Writer
Finally someone gets to make a picture of these beautiful pterosaurs that isn't a skeletal.
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:iconpilsator:
pilsator Featured By Owner Sep 21, 2010  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Very cool, especially the subadult/Feilongus. You really have a knack for restoring a realistic-looking distribution of pterofuzz.
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:iconmattmart:
MattMart Featured By Owner Sep 22, 2010  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thanks! It isn't too hard when you follow what little evidence we have from fossils. Pterodactylus and Jeholopterus are pretty simple guides to the range of pycnofibre distribution as we currently know it (these are more on the Pterodactylus side of things).
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September 21, 2010
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