Tapejara wellnhoferi

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Tapejara wellnhoferi
Temporal range: Aptian-Albian,
112 Ma
Reconstructed skeleton
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Order: Pterosauria
Suborder: Pterodactyloidea
Family: Tapejaridae
Subfamily: Tapejarinae
Tribe: Tapejarini
Genus: Tapejara
Kellner, 1989
T. wellnhoferi
Binomial name
Tapejara wellnhoferi
Kellner, 1989

Tapejara (from a Tupi word meaning "the old being") is a genus of Brazilian pterosaur from the Cretaceous Period (Santana Formation, dating to about 127 to 112 million years ago). Tapejara crests consisted of a semicircular crest over the snout, and a bony prong which extended back behind the head. It was a small pterosaur, with a wingspan of approximately 1.23–1.3 metres (4.0–4.3 ft).[1]

Species and classification[edit]

Reconstructed profiles of Tapejara wellnhoferi (A), Tupandactylus navigans (B), and Tupandactylus imperator (C)

The type species and only one currently recognized as valid by most researchers, is T. wellnhoferi. The specific name honors German paleontologist Peter Wellnhofer. Two larger species, originally named Tapejara imperator and Tapejara navigans, were later classified in the genus Tapejara. However, several studies have shown that T. imperator and T. navigans are significantly different from T. wellnhoferi and therefore were reclassified into new genera. The species T. imperator was given its own genus, Tupandactylus, by Alexander Kellner and Diogenes de Almeida Campos.[2] Unwin and Martill found that T. imperator and T. navigans belong in the same genus, and named them Ingridia imperator and I. navigans, respectively. This genus name honored Wellnhofer's late wife Ingrid.[3]

Because Tupandactylus was named first, it retained priority over the name Ingridia. To complicate matters, both the name Tupandactylus and Ingridia used the former Tapejara imperator as their type species.[4] The scientists who described Tupandactylus did not name a Tupandactylus navigans (but instead suggested it was synonymous to Tupandactylus imperator), and Tapejara navigans was not formally reclassified as a distinct species of Tupandactylus until 2011.[5]


The cladogram below follows a phylogenetic analysis by Kellner, the describer of Tapejara, and colleagues in 2019. They recovered Tapejara within the Tapejarini (a tribe within the family Tapejaridae), sister taxon to three other genera: Europejara, Caiuajara, and Tupandactylus.[6]


Keresdrakon vilsoni


Thalassodromeus sethi

Tupuxuara leonardii


Caupedactylus ybaka

Aymberedactylus cearensis

Eopteranodon lii

"Huaxiapterus" benxiensis

"Huaxiapterus" corollatus

Sinopterus dongi


Europejara olcadesorum

Caiuajara dobruskii

Tapejara wellnhoferi

Tupandactylus imperator


Comparisons between the scleral rings of Tapejara and modern birds and reptiles suggest that it may have been cathemeral, active throughout the day at short intervals.[7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Eck, K.; Elgin, R.A.; Frey, E. "On the osteology of Tapejara wellnhoferi KELLNER 1989 and the first occurrence of a multiple specimen assemblage from the Santana Formation, Araripe Basin, NE-Brazil". Swiss Journal of Palaeontology. 130 (2): 277–296. doi:10.1007/s13358-011-0024-5.
  2. ^ Kellner, A.W.A.; Campos, D.A. (2007). "Short note on the ingroup relationships of the Tapejaridae (Pterosauria, Pterodactyloidea". Boletim do Museu Nacional. 75: 1–14.
  3. ^ Unwin, D. M. and Martill, D. M. (2007). "Pterosaurs of the Crato Formation." In Martill, D. M., Bechly, G. and Loveridge, R. F. (eds), The Crato Fossil Beds of Brazil: Window into an Ancient World. Cambridge University Press (Cambridge), pp. 475–524.
  4. ^ Naish, D. (2008). "Crato Formation fossils and the new tapejarids." Weblog entry. Tetrapod Zoology. January 18, 2008. Accessed January 31, 2008 ("Tetrapod Zoology : Crato Formation fossils and the new tapejarids". Archived from the original on July 6, 2008. Retrieved November 15, 2008.).
  5. ^ Pinheiro, Felipe L.; Fortier, Daniel C.; Schultz, Cesar L.; De Andrade, José Artur F.G.; Bantim, Renan A.M. (2011). "New information on Tupandactylus imperator, with comments on the relationships of Tapejaridae (Pterosauria)". Acta Palaeontologica Polonica. 56 (3): 567–580. doi:10.4202/app.2010.0057.
  6. ^ Kellner, Alexander W. A.; Weinschütz, Luiz C.; Holgado, Borja; Bantim, Renan A. M.; Sayão, Juliana M. (August 19, 2019). "A new toothless pterosaur (Pterodactyloidea) from Southern Brazil with insights into the paleoecology of a Cretaceous desert". Anais da Academia Brasileira de Ciências. 91 (suppl 2): e20190768. doi:10.1590/0001-3765201920190768. ISSN 0001-3765. PMID 31432888.
  7. ^ Schmitz, L.; Motani, R. (2011). "Nocturnality in dinosaurs inferred from scleral ring and orbit morphology". Science. 332 (6030): 705–8. Bibcode:2011Sci...332..705S. doi:10.1126/science.1200043. PMID 21493820. S2CID 33253407.