|Named By:||Lu Junchang in 2003|
|Time Period:||Early Cretaceous, 124.6 Ma|
|Location:||China, Liaoning Province - Yixian Formation|
|Size:||1 meter wingspan|
|Fossil(s):||Crushed partial skeleton thought to be of a subadult, including wing membranes. Skull unknown|
|Classification:||| Chordata | Reptilia | Pterosauria | Pterodactyloidea | Ctenochasmatidae | Ctenochasmatinae ||
Beipiaopterus is a genus of ctenochasmatid pterosaur (flying reptile) from the Lower Cretaceous Yixian Formation (Aptian) in the People's Republic of China.
The genus was named in 2003 by Lu Junchang. The generic name is derived from Beipiao City in Liaoning Province and a Latinised Greek pteron, "wing". The specific epithet honours paleontologist Professor Chen Peiji.
The type and only species is based on holotype BPM 0002, a crushed partial skeleton of a subadult individual on a slab, missing the skull. It includes four cervical, fourteen dorsal, three sacral and nine caudal vertebrae, a complete left wing and two hind limbs. Remains of the soft parts have been preserved, including partial wing membranes, a membrane attached to the tibia, a "mane" on the neck and webbing of the feet. It had a wingspan of one metre and was about fifty centimetres long if the skull had the same length as the remainder of the body: 103 millimetres for the neck, ten centimetres for the rump and 37 millimetres for the tail. In the wing finger the fourth, normally most extreme, phalanx was absent; according to Lu this was not an artefact of preservation but the normal condition of the animal, one also known from Nyctosaurus.
In 2005 a study of the wing membrane by SEM (Scanning Electron Microscope) was published, showing it had contained many blood vessels, which indicated a role in the thermoregulation.
Lu assigned Beipiaopterus to the Ctenochasmatidae because of the elongation of the cervical vertebrae and the general form of the humerus. This was later affirmed by an exact cladistic analysis which showed that it was a basal member of the group.