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Reconstruction of Afrotapejara zouhri - A similar tapejarid pterosaur to the one found in the UK. Image Credit: Antonio R. Mihaila.

Reconstruction of Afrotapejara zouhri - A similar tapejarid pterosaur to the one found in the UK. Image Credit: Antonio R. Mihaila. (CC BY-SA 4.0)


An amateur fossil hunter finds a new species of Chinese Pterodactyl on the Isle of Wight.

An amateur fossil hunter found a Chinese pterosaur fossil in... wait for it... the UK! This new genus and species from the Isle of Wight is closely related to Chinese tapejarid pterosaurs and adds to the diversity of animals that lived in the Isle of Wight in the Cretacheous. Read the news story below:


Summary Points


An amateur fossil hunter found an odd fossil bone along the beach while walking his dog. He passed the strange specimen to the University of Portsmouth for Identification.

The fossil, which was a jaw fragment, belongs to a bizarre group of pterosaurs called tapejarids.

The new specimen has been given the name Wightia declivirostris

It is closely related to Chinese tapejarids that have large head crests.

This new specimen adds to the diversity of dinosaurs and pterosaurs found on the Isle of Wight.



Chinese Ptewrodactyl Wings Its Way to the Isle of Wight

University of Portsmouth - Press Release - May 28, 2020


The attached image shows Wightia declivirostris flying over an oxbow lake in the valley of the ancient Wessex River that flowed from Devon to the Isle of Wight. Image Credit: Megan Jacobs

Caption: The attached image shows Wightia declivirostris flying over an oxbow lake in the valley of the ancient Wessex River that flowed from Devon to the Isle of Wight. Image Credit: Megan Jacobs


The first ever specimen of a pterodactyl, more commonly found in China and Brazil, has been found in the United Kingdom.

A fossil hunter recently discovered a peculiar shaped fragment of fossil bone while out walking his dog in Sandown Bay on the Isle of Wight.

Not sure what it was, he passed it to University of Portsmouth Palaeontology student Megan Jacobs, who thought it might be the jaw bone from a pterodactyl. Further research proved she was right.

However, this was no ordinary pterodactyl jaw. This one lacked teeth and was remarkably similar to a bizarre group of pterosaurs called 'tapejarids'. They are better known from China and Brazil and have never previously been found in the UK.

Just last year a team from the University of Portsmouth discovered as similar specimen in North Africa (Morocco) which they named Afrotapejara.

The new specimen from the Isle of Wight has been named Wightia declivirostris.

Megan Jacobs said: "Although only a fragment of jaw, it has all the characteristic of a tapejarid jaw, including numerous tiny little holes that held minute sensory organs for detecting their food, and a downturned, finely pointed beak.

"Complete examples from Brazil and China show that they had large head crests, with the crest sometime being twice as big as the skull. The crests were probably used in sexual display and may have been brightly coloured."

Section of the jaw bone fossil from Martill et al. 2020.

Section of the jaw bone fossil from Martill et al. 2020.


The researchers determined that the Isle of Wight example seemed more closely related to the Chinese tapejarids rather than the Brazilian examples.

Co-author of the study Professor David Martill, a palaeontologist from the University of Portsmouth, said: "This new species adds to the diversity of dinosaurs and other prehistoric reptiles found on the Island, which is now one of the most important places for Cretaceous dinosaurs in the world."

The finder has kindly donated the specimen to Dinosaur Isle Museum at Sandown, where it is hoped it will go on display in the future.


Press Release Provided by: University of Portsmouth

The Journal Article is Available Here:

David M. Martill, Mick Green, Roy E. Smith, Megan L. Jacobs, John Winch. First tapejarid pterosaur from the Wessex Formation (Wealden Group: Lower Cretaceous, Barremian) of the United Kingdom. Cretaceous Research, 2020; 113: 104487 DOI: 10.1016/j.cretres.2020.104487.




Recommended Pterosaur Book:


Pterosaurs: Natural History, Evolution, Anatomy
by Mark P. Witton, 2013

Witton is a major researcher of Pterosaurs. Allot of the pterosaur research publications are by him. His book is filled with images and goes over each unique clade of pterosaur, including the paleoecology. Although the book is lengthy, it's an easy read as Witton does a great job engaging the reader. If you are interested in Pterosaurs, read this book from the Pterosaur expert! Just look at the great reviews it was given. This is available as Kindle or Hard Cover.



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