Lower Cretaceous rocks in northern Chile have yielded the remains of Domeykodactylus ceciliae, one of the only dsungaripterids known from South America. It was named in 2000 by David Martill and colleagues, and is named for the Cordillera de Domeyko in the Chilean Andes.
It’s known from two portions of the skull, a nearly complete mandible and a small part of the snout bearing the base of a crest. The mandible portion is about 13 cm (5 inches) long, and is fairly robust. The tips of the mandible and the rear portion of both the left and right sides are missing, and when complete, the jaw would have probably been about 22 cm (8.5 inches) long. There are 16 tooth positions on both sides of the lower jaw, and they all bear a distinctive thickened bony base with only small portions of the tooth crowns emerging.
The snout portion is from the upper surface of the skull and bears the base of a crest on the upper portion of the skull. The crest is thin and characterized by an unusual internal bone texture with many vertical grooves that curve slightly forward. Dsungaripterids have low irregular bony crests on the upper surface of their skulls that were enlarged with soft tissues into semicircular ridges. Nothing more is known from the skull or the rest of the skeleton, but comparison to relatives Dsungaripterus and Noripterus suggests a skull length of roughly 30 cm (12 inches) and a wingspan of about 2 m (6.5 feet).
The remains were originally described in 1978 by Casamiquela and Diaz as a Jurassic example of Pterodaustro, but further preparation has shown that to be in error. Parallel curving fibers that Casamiquela and Diaz had thought were the distinctive teeth of Pterodaustro have been shown to be the internal texture of the bony portion of the crest. Likewise, the rock formation that yielded Domeykodactylus is now considered to have been deposited in the Early Cretaceous and not the Jurassic, although a more precise age cannot be determined.
When described by Martill and colleagues in 2000, Domeykodactylus was assigned to the Dsungaripteridae because of the stout jaw bones, distinctive teeth with swollen bony bases, and cranial crest. Subsequent phylogenetic analyses have confirmed this, showing Domeykodactylus to be the closest relative of Dsungaripterus. Domeykodactylus, like other dsungaripterids, was a carnivore that used its stout jaws and reinforced teeth to crush hard-shelled prey items like shellfish.