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Derived from the Greek lonchos, meaning lance, and Latin draco, meaning dragon.
Pterodactylus giganteus Bowerbank, 1846.
Recorded temporal range
Albian to Cenomanian / Turonian.
Recorded stratigraphic range
Cambridge Greensand and Chalk Formation, England.
Pterodactyloid pterosaur with the following combination of characters that distinguishes it from other members of the clade (autapomorphies are marked with an asterisk): comparatively small alveoli (up to 4 mm in diameter) in the anterior portions of the upper and lower jaws; alveoli of the anterior portions of the upper and lower jaws without significant variation in size; alveoli placed in an elevation in relation to the palate and to the dorsal margin of the mandible*; deep palatal ridge; mandibular crest present; spacing between alveoli roughly equivalent to their diameters (modified from Unwin 2001).
Hooley (1914) created the genus Lonchodectes, to which he assigned nine species. Six of them were listed in alphabetical order: Lonchodectes compressirostris, Lonchodectes machaeorhynchus [sic], Lonchodectes microdon, Lonchodectes oweni, Lonchodectes scaphorhynchus and Lonchodectes tenuirostris. Other three were cited latter and referred to the genus, still in the same publication: Lonchodectes daviesii, Lonchodectes giganteus and Lonchodectes sagittirostris (Hooley 1914). There was no designation of a type species.
Latter workers did not accept Lonchodectes as a valid genus. Kuhn (1967) and Wellnhofer (1978) considered it synonymous with Ornithocheirus. Kuhn (1967: 46) designated Lonchodectes compressirostris as the type species of the genus, using the term “Genotypus” (see above). This is a valid subsequent designation under Article 69 of ICZN. Unwin (2001), while reviewing the Cambridge Greensand pterosaurs, re–instated the genus and concluded that, of the nine species referred by Hooley (1914), only five were valid: Lonchodectes compressirostris, Lonchodectes machaerorhynchus, Lonchodectes microdon, Lonchodectes giganteus and Lonchodectes sagittirostris. He also added another species to the genus, Lonchodectes platystomus, which Hooley (1914) had placed in the genus Amblydectes.
In the present work, Lonchodectes compressirostris is considered a nomen dubium (see below) and, therefore,a new genus, Lonchodraco, is here erected to include three of the species previously referred to Lonchodectes: Lonchodraco giganteus, Lonchodraco machaerorhynchus, and Lonchodraco(?) MARK123 Lonchodraco microdon.
- Rodrigues, T; Kellner, A; 2013: Taxonomic review of the Ornithocheirus complex (Pterosauria) from the Cretaceous of England ZooKeys, 308: 1-112. doi
- Unwin D (2001) An overview of the pterosaur assemblage from the Cambridge Greensand (Cretaceous) of Eastern England. Mitteilungen aus dem Museum für Naturkunde in Berlin, Geowissenschaftliche Reihe 4: 189-221. doi: 10.1002/mmng.20010040112
- Hooley R (1914) On the ornithosaurian genus Ornithocheirus, with a review of the specimens from the Cambridge Greensand in the Sedgwick Museum, Cambridge. Annals and Magazine of Natural History 78: 529-557. doi: 10.1080/00222931408693521
- Kuhn O (1967) Die fossile Wirbeltierklasse Pterosauria. Verlag Oeben, Krailling bei München, 52 pp.
- Wellnhofer P (1978) Pterosauria. Handbuch der Paläoherpetologie, Teil 19. Gustav Fischer Verlag, Stuttgart and New York, 82 pp.