Tapejara Juvenile??

The post cranial skeleton of Tapejara (famous for its head crests) was published last year (Eck, Elgin and Frey 2011). It was smaller than the known skulls (Fig. 1). I had seen the 3D skeleton in a museum drawer several years ago. The skull despite its size, is very close in morphology to the holotype. The smaller specimen may bea juvenile and if so it demonstrates, once again, the largely isometric, rather than allometric growth pattern of pterosaurs, although in this case the rostrum is shorter and the eyeball greater. These clues might indicate that the specimen could be a smaller species on that basis alone, given the examples of embryos and other juveniles that do not share “juvenile” traits with adults. Too bad the feet are unknown in both cases. They usually tell the tale. A Tapejara foot was looked at earlier, but it was from another specimen.

Various Tapejara specimens including the juvenile.

Figure 1. Various Tapejara specimens including the purported juvenile. Click to learn more. The postcrania of the large Tapejara was based on the smaller specimen and the toes were from a disarticulated specimen.

Eck K, Elgin RA, Frey E 2011. 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, doi:10.1007/s13358-011-0024-5.

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