The only definitive fossils of Bogolubovia orientalis were first described by Nikolai Bogolubov in 1914, originally giving the remains the name Ornithostoma orientalis. After being reassigned to Pteranodon, the species was given its own genus, named for Bogolubov, by Lev Nessov and Alexander Yarkov in 1989. The fossils were discovered in the Upper Cretaceous Rybushka Formation in Russia’s Volga region.
The original specimen, which has now been lost, consisted of the rear portion of a single neck vertebra. This vertebra belonged to a medium-sized azhdarchid, with a wingspan of 3-4 meters (10-13 feet). In 2005 Alexander Averianov and colleagues described a partial azhdarchid radius from slightly younger rocks of the same area. The radius came from an animal with an estimated wingspan of 4.3 meters (14 feet). They suggest that it might belong to Bogolubovia, but without any overlapping parts, it could not be definitively assigned.
In 1995 Natalia Bakhurina and David Unwin reviewed pterosaurs from the former Soviet Union and considered Bogolubovia to be an azhdarchid, but one without any diagnostic anatomical features. In 2000 the same authors affirmed that position in an updated review of the same pterosaurs. Averianov and colleagues disagreed, and considered Bogolubovia to be valid based on unique characteristics they describe.
Azhdarchids were medium- to large-sized pterosaurs found in Upper Cretaceous rocks on almost all continents. All known azhdarchids have long toothless bills, long necks, and comparatively short wings. They are thought to have been hunters of small terrestrial animals like lizards and even baby dinosaurs. Although we can’t be sure, Bogolubovia is assumed to have had a similar lifestyle.