Fossils from a newly-discovered species of pterodactyl dinosaur have been discovered in Chaoyang County in northeast China's Liaoning Province.
The fossils, named Sinopterus dongi, have been confirmed as belonging to the Tapejaridae species by scientists with the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology of the Chinese Academy of Sciences. The fossils are believed to date back about 110 million years in the Cretaceous Period.
The newly-discovered fossils in Chaoyang County are thus far the best-preserved of all Tapejaridae pterodactyl fossils, which, up until now, had only been reported in Brazil.
With a bird-like beak and no teeth, "Sinopterus dongi" has a wingspan of 1.2 meters. Its head, measuring 17 centimeters in length, is large in proportion to its small body.
Judging from its size and beak, experts have concluded that Sinopterus dongi was polyphagous, feeding on mostly plants and fish.
The pterodactyl dinosaur was the earliest reptile able to fly, and it preceded birds by about 700 million years.
According to experts, this discovery, coupled with the finds last May in Yixian County in the same province, will provide clues to both the evolution of dinosaurs and to geological evolution in the area.
(Xinhua News Agency November 12, 2002)