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Tapejara osteology

From: Ben Creisler

A new online paper:

Kristina Eck, Ross A. Elgin and Eberhard Frey (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 (advance online 
DOI: 10.1007/s13358-011-0024-5

The postcranial elements of two similar sized and 
juvenile individuals, along with a partial skull, are 
attributed to the Early Cretaceous pterosaur Tapejara 
wellnhoferi. The remains, recovered from a single 
concretion of the Romualdo Member, Santana Formation, NE-
Brazil, represent the first account of multiple specimens 
having settled together and allow for a complete review 
of postcranial osteology in tapejarid pterosaurs. A 
comparison of long bone morphometrics indicates that all 
specimens attributed to the Tapejaridae for which these 
elements are known (i.e. Huaxiapterus, Sinopterus, 
Tapejara) display similar bivariate ratios, suggesting 
that Chinese and Brazilian taxa must have exhibited 
similar growth patterns. An unusual pneumatic 
configuration, whereby the humerus is pierced by both 
dorsally and ventrally located foramina, is observed 
within T. wellnhoferi, while the pneumatic system is 
inferred to have invaded the hindlimbs via the femur in 
all members of the Azhdarchoidea. The partial 
preservation of the endocranial cavity allows for a 
reconstruction of the tapejarid brain, where despite a 
small orbit with respect to skull size, the presence of 
large flocculi and ocular lobes indicate that Tapejara 
possessed both excellent balancing and visual systems as 
a consequence of its aerial lifestyle.