Named By: Lü Junchang - 2003.
Classification: Chordata, Reptilia, Pterosauria, Pterodactyloidea, Ctenochasmatidae, Ctenochasmatinae.
Species: B. chenianus (type).
Diet: Filter feeder.
Size: 1 meter wingspan.
Known locations: China, Liaoning Province - Yixian Formation.
Time period: Aptian of the Cretaceous.
Fossil representation: Crushed partial skeleton thought to be of a subadult, including wing membranes. Skull unknown.
are usually confirmed by their special dentition which
allows them to filter sediment and water as they hunt for
invertebrates. However this was not possible for Beipiaopterus
because the skull was unknown. Instead the remainder of the body had
to be examined for identifying features and the conclusion to this was
that Beipiaopterus was a basal member of the
Although enough of the original pterosaur remains to give a fairly
reliable indication of wingspan and total size, the fact that the
specimen is of a subadult means that Beipiaopterus
likely grew bigger
with a wingspan exceeding one meter.
Beipiaopterus was the subject of a special 2005 study where the wing membrane was subjected to scrutiny under the power of an electron microscope. This study confirmed the presence of a network of blood vessels that have been speculated to have been for the purpose of thermoregulation. This has been held up as further proof for the theory that pterosaurs were warm-blooded, a state that would better support the lifestyle of an active flyer.