A [Formerly] Unknown Tapejarid

The website Pterosaur.net published an image of an “unknown tapejarid” (aka the Rio tapejarid, Fig. 1), which is a largely articulated torso missing most of its ribs and gastralia. Here we’ll try to figure out what sort of tapejarid this torso is.

[Added a day late, I found the paper Sayão and Kellner (2006) that describes this specimen, MN 6588-V. Apologies. Still the authors were not able to identify it. ]

In situ tracing of the unknown "Rio" tapejarid from Pterosaur.net

Figure 1. In situ tracing of the unknown “Rio” tapejarid MN 6588-V from Pterosaur.net

I was surprised to see this image published as “unknown.” Here we’ll try to lend a hand in identifying this headless specimen.

The 'Rio' tapejarid reconstructed.

Figure 2. The ‘Rio’ tapejarid reconstructed. The overall size, the length of the torso and the distinctly narrow neck on the postacetabular process of the ilium all indicate affinity with Tapejara. Prepubes are rare in this clade, so good to see them here, with a shape distinct from cousin Huaxiapterus.

A Probable Tapejara
The elongated torso, the shape of the posterior ilium and the overall size indicate a close affinity with Tapejara in lieu of a phylogenetic analysis. As in other tapejarids, the relatively short coracoids produce a “bottom decker” wing attachment to the torso in which the wing attached relatively lower on the torso. The prepubes were robust with a relatively short stem and tiny perforation. The anterior ilium was quite gracile.

The Tapejaridae

Figure 1. Click to enlarge and see the unknown tapejarid (Not shown here) to scale with the others. This is the Tapejaridae, including Sinopterus, Huaxiapterus, Tapejara, Tupandactylus, Tupuxuara and Thalassodromeus

As always, I encourage readers to see specimens, make observations and come to your own conclusions. Test. Test. And test again.

Evidence and support in the form of nexus, pdf and jpeg files will be sent to all who request additional data.

Eck K, Elgin RA and 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.
Kellner AWA 1989. A new edentate pterosaur of the Lower Cretaceous from the Araripe Basin, northeast Brazil. Anais da Academia Brasileira de Ciências 61, 439-446.
Sayão JM and Kellner AWA 2006. Novo esquelito parcial de pterossauro (Pterodactyloidea, Tapejaridae) do membro Crato (Aptiano), Formação Santana, Bacia do Araripe, Nordeste do Brasil. Estudos Geológicos 16(2):16-40.


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