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357

Jeholopterus ningchengensis

OLogy Series
extinct animal
card
357

Jeholopterus ningchengensis

OLogy Series
extinct animal

Unlike modern reptiles, pterosaurs weren't covered in scales. They were covered in fuzz! Pterosaurs kept warm with a thick coat of fibers similar to fur. Jeholopterus was relatively small, with short, stubby wings and tiny, sharp teeth. It lived in forests of what is now China.

Jeholopterus hunted most like a:

bat

hawk

pelican

Are you right?

Correct!

With its broad, short wings, Jeholopterus could zigzag through branches to chase down insects. Then it could snatch an insect right out of the air with its small jaws and sharp teeth!

Which of these animals may have lived alongside Jeholopterus?

dinosaurs with feathers

small mammals

both of these

Are you right?

Correct!

Other fossils from the region give scientists a picture of life in these ancient forests. Many kinds of dinosaurs lived there, including some with short feathers. The mammals that lived at this time were relatively small. The largest was about the size of a small dog.

Mark Norell, paleontologist

My favorite pterosaur fossil is Jeholopterus from northeastern China. It's a beautiful, small specimen. It's completely covered with fibrous textures, so it was like a fuzz ball flying through the air when it was alive.

The hairlike fibers on the Jeholopterus fossil were just like hair found on mammals.

Fact
or
Fiction
?

Fiction

These fibers, called pycnofibers, are different from mammal hair. But like mammal hair, they may have helped pterosaurs keep warm.

Hairlike fibers made the wings of Jeholopterus stronger.

Fact
or
Fiction
?

Fact

Scientists used ultraviolet light to get an “inside look” at the wing tissue found with the fossil. A network of crisscrossed fibers made the wing strong.

Pronunciation: je-hol-OP-ter-us
ning-cheng-EN-sis
Lived: around 130 million years ago
Fossil Found: in northeastern China
Wingspan: 35 inches (90 cm)
Diet: probably insects
Cool Fact: The hairlike strands were about as thick as horsehair!

Image credits: © AMNH 2014; Mark Norell, AMNH.