Tapejara (Top-ay-har-ah), the Old Being, an Early Cretaceous azhdarchoid pterosaur, is the best known tapejarid. Azhdarchoids became important in the Early Cretaceous and in the dominant pterosaur group in the Late Cretaceous until the final extinction event at the end of the Mesozoic (Dixon, 2006).
Genera and Species
Classification: pterosauria monofenestra pterodactyloidean ornithocheiroidea lophocratia azhdarchoidea tapejariae
Species: T. wellnhoferi
Synonyms: T. imperator and T. navigans
Tapejarids were characterized by their extreme head crests and short skulls with avian style down-turned jaw tips. The juveniles had shallow skulls that deepened with age. As with other pterosaurs, the crest was used for socialization. It is unlikely that the crest acted as a rudder or a sail as has been fancifully suggested. Tapejara had compact feet with curved claws that had pads. Like other pterosaurs, the body and head were covered with pterosaur fuzz (Witton, 2013).
WING LENGTH: 12 ft.
WEIGHT: 80 lbs.
Tapejara was a generalist flier, like modern crows and parrots. They were good walkers, on compact, padded feet they could run down small to medium vertebrates. Pterosaurs were born precocial, so they required little or no parental care. The eggs were soft like crocodiles rather than hard like bird eggs. The eggs would have been buried and allowed to incubate.
History of Discovery
Discovery, 1989 by Keller, fossils are common in China and Brazil but also found in Africa and Europe.
Found in scrublands of Brazil and in areas distant from the sea. Like other azhdarchoids, they had a terrestrial or continental lifestyle.
- Witton, M. (2013). Pterosaurs: Natural History, Evolution, Anatomy. Princeton New Jersey: Princeton University Press.
- Dixon, D. (2006). The Complete Book of Dinosaurs. London UK: Hermes House
- Plesiosauria. (2013, February 1). Tapejara.