Edentulous pterosaurs from the Cambridge Greensand (Cretaceous) of eastern England with a review of Ornithostoma Seeley, 1871

Roy E. Smith, David M. Martill, David M. Unwin, Lorna Steel

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A re-examination of fossil material from the Late Cretaceous Cambridge Greensand Member (CGM) of the West Melbury Marly Chalk Formation revealed a number of new specimens of edentulous pterosaur jaw fragments previously identified as shark fin spines and fish jaws and accessioned under the epithet ‘cestraciontid finray’ and ‘jaws of fish’. These are now recognised as pterosaurian jaw tips and referred to Ornithostoma sedgwicki Seeley, 1891 and Azhdarchoidea indet. This material increases the diversity of edentulous pterosaurs from the CGM.

The edentulous pterosaur Ornithostoma sedgwicki Seeley, 1891 from the Cretaceous Cambridge Greensand of eastern England is reviewed. The holotype specimen is confirmed as a fragment of a premaxilla/maxilla of a non-tapejarid azhdarchoid on account of the conspicuous curvature of the dorsal and occlusal margins posteriorly and the presence of small neural foramina on the lateral margins. Neural foramina are not seen on jaws of members of the Pteranodontia, a group to which O. sedgwicki was included previously. The referral of O. sedgwicki to Azhdarchoidea eliminates the single known Lower Cretaceous occurrence of Pteranodontidae, restricting the temporal range of this taxon to the Upper Cretaceous. Postcranial material referred to O. sedgwicki from the type horizon is regarded as indeterminate Pterosauria.
Original languageEnglish
JournalProceedings of the Geologists' Association
Early online date6 Nov 2020
Publication statusEarly online - 6 Nov 2020


  • Pterosauria
  • Azhdarchoidea
  • Ornithostoma
  • Cambridge Greensand Member
  • Cretaceous
  • Eastern England


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