On pterodactyloid diversity in the British Wealden (Lower Cretaceous) and a reappraisal of “Palaeornis” cliftii Mantell, 1844

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    Abstract

    Pterosaur remains from Wealden strata of southern England have largely been referred to the Ornithocheiroidea, with only a solitary controversial claim of a lonchodectid providing evidence of heightened diversity. A reappraisal of a historic Wealden specimen suggests that “Palaeornis” cliftii Mantell, 1844, an isolated humerus from the Hastings Beds Group of West Sussex, is not an ornithocheiroid as previously reported but instead confirms the presence of lonchodectid pterosaurs in the British Wealden. The diversity of British Wealden pterosaurs is heightened further by a recently-discovered pterosaur humerus from the Wealden Group of the Isle of Wight, providing the first record of azhdarchoid pterosaurs in the British Lower Cretaceous. This specimen is thought to represent a non-azhdarchid neoazhdarchian and, being from Barremian deposits, represents the earliest known occurrence of such a pterosaur.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)676-686
    Number of pages11
    JournalCretaceous Research
    Volume30
    Issue number3
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - Jun 2009

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