Tapejara was a maritime pterosaur from the early Cretaceous period. It lived on the steep, costal cliffs of Brazil.

Creature attributes

Physical appearance and biology

Tapejara was not a pterosaur that would go unnoticed by the naked eye. It had a wingspan of 5 meters (16.5 feet), slightly larger than an adult human. But the most noticeable characteristic was its large crest, standing a meter (3.3 feet) tall.

This was certainly not used in flight, in fact, it hindered Tapejara greatly, giving it slower movement and to battle high winds for stability on occasion. It is assumed that it was a characteristic only found in males, being used during mating season to attract the opposite gender.

Another unique feature about Tapejara was that it was the first known pterosaur to have developed a toothless beak.

The pterosaur's body was a mixture of black and grey with its head being white, the sides of its face being blue, and its crest being bright red.

Behavior and traits

Tapejara males had mating leks. Unlike Ornithocheirus, these pterosaurs held leks not on low-lying sandy beaches, but on high coastal cliffs - the higher the cliff top, the more dominant was the male and more likely he was to mate. The low-status males had to lek in undesirable positions, like near blow holes, instead. Tapejara also nested in the coast where there was fish nearby to feed to their young.

In Walking with Dinosaurs

Giant of the Skies

A large number of male Tapejara are seen briefly in the episode calling for a mates. A single female, possessing a much smaller and drabber head crest, is seen approaching one of the males as well. There were also numerous Tapejara  of unidentifiable gender in the background.

Behind the scenes

The species of Tapejara that appeared in Walking with Dinosaurs has since been reclassified as the genus Tupandactylus.[1]

List of appearances

Notes and references

  1. Acta Palaeontologica Polonica - New information on the pterosaur Tupandactylus imperator, with comments on the relationships of Tapejaridae

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