|Named By:||Carolina Fuentes Vidarte & Manuel Meijide Calvo in 2010|
|Time Period:||Early Cretaceous, 125 Ma|
|Location:||Spain, La Rioja - Leza Formation|
|Size:||4.26 meter wingspan|
|Fossil(s):||Partial skulls and post cranial remains|
|Classification:||| Chordata | Reptilia | Pterosauria | Pterodactyloidea ||
Prejanopterus is an extinct genus of pterodactyloid pterosaur from the Lower Cretaceous (lower Aptian age) layers of the Leza Formation of La Rioja, Spain.
In 1980 a fossil site was discovered near Yacimiento de Fuente Amarga on the western slopes of the Pena Isasa. In 1993 and 1994 ten fossiliferous blocks were recovered, containing numerous disarticulated fossil bones and bone fragments, among them those of a pterosaur.
The type species Prejanopterus curvirostra was named and described in 2010 by Carolina Fuentes Vidarte and Manuel Meijide Calvo. The generic name is derived from the village of Prejano and a Latinised Greek pteron, "wing". The specific name is derived from Latin curvus, "bent", and rostrum, "snout", a reference to the distinctive bend to the left which was claimed to be present in all fossils of the snout. A later study indicates that "there is no genuine sideways bend" of the snout, "but a slight dorsal curvature". The same study emended the specific name to curvirostris as the feminine curvirostra had been incorrect.
The holotype, F. A. 112, consists of a fragmented snout. Another snout, specimen F. A. 185, is the paratype. Numerous other elements of the skull and the postcrania have been assigned to the species, mostly from the wing, the pelvis and the hindlimbs. A humerus or vertebrae are still lacking. The species represents the best preserved pterosaur known from Spain and the first named from the Early Cretaceous of that country.
The bent snout features twenty pairs of small teeth with an oval cross-section. That the curvature is no preservation artefact, a post mortem distortion, is indicated by the fact that both known snouts show it. Remarkably, all lower jaws found are straight. The wing span was initially estimated at 4.26 metres (14.0 ft); however, later studies indicate that the wing span of Prejanopterus was probably not much (if ever) in excess of 2 metres (6.6 ft).
The authors have assigned Prejanopterus to the Pterodactyloidea. Using the comparative method they established that no pterodactyloid group has obvious strong affinities to the species. In a later phylogenetic study Pereda-Suberbiola et al. (2012) recovered Prejanopterus as a ctenochasmatoid "positioned between Pterodactylus and Cycnorhamphus-Gallodactylus". A more recent phylogenetic study recovers it as a possible lonchodectid.
Cladogram after Pereda-Suberbiola et al. (2012):