Skip to main content

A new unusual tapejarid (Pterosauria, Pterodactyloidea) from the Early Cretaceous Romualdo Formation, Araripe Basin, Brazil

  • Alexander W. A. Kellner (a1)

A new unusual tapejarid pterosaur from the Early Cretaceous Romualdo Formation (Araripe Basin, Brazil) is described, based on a skull, lower jaw and some postcranial elements. Caupedactylus ybaka gen. et sp. shows the typical high nasoantorbital fenestra of the Thalassodrominae but lacks a palatal ridge, and shares with the Tapejarinae several features, including a downturned rostral end, allowing its allocation to that clade. Furthermore, the new species differs in having an anteriorly and posteriorly expanded premaxillary sagittal crest, the lacrimal process of the jugal strongly inclined, and a slit-like postpalatine fenestra, among other characters. The region of the left jugal-quadratojugal-quadrate shows a pathology that is likely the result of an infection. The lateral surface of the premaxillary crest presents grooves that were interpreted in other pterosaurs as impressions of blood vessels, corroborating growing evidence that cranial crests could have been involved in thermoregulation. Also, the new species has a well-preserved palate with a large palatine forming the anterior region of the choanae and the postpalatine fenestra and a secondary subtemporal fenestra. Since the latter has been regarded as unique to non-pterodactyloids, its occurrence in Caupedactylus demonstrates that the evolution of palatal region in pterosaurs is more complex than previously thought.

Hide All
Andres, B. & Ji, Q. 2008. A new pterosaur from the Liaoning Province of China, the phylogeny of the Pterodactyloidea, and convergence in their cervical vertebrae. Palaeontology 51 (2), 453–69.
Assine, M. L. 2007. Bacia do Araripe. Boletim de Geociências da Petrobras 15 (2), 371–89.
Bennett, S. C. 1993. The ontogeny of Pteranodon and other pterosaurs. Paleobiology 19 (1), 92106.
Bennett, S. C. 2001. The osteology and functional morphology of the Late Cretaceous Pterosaur Pteranodon. Palaeontographica Abt. A 260, 1112.
Beurlen, K. 1971. As condições ecológicas e faciológicas da Formação Santana na Chapada do Araripe (Nordeste do Brasil). Anais da Academia Brasileira de Ciências 43, 411–15.
Cai, Z. & Wei, F. 1994. On a new pterosaur (Zhejiangopterus linhaiensis gen et sp nov.) from Upper Cretaceous in Linhai, Zhejiang, China. Vertebrata PalAsiatica 32 (3), 181–94.
Campos, D. A. & Kellner, A. W. A. 1985. Panorama of the Flying Reptiles Study in Brazil and South America. Anais da Academian Brasileira de Ciências 57 (4), 453–66.
Campos, D. A. & Kellner, A. W. A. 1997. Short Note on the First Occurrence of Tapejaridae in the Crato Member (Aptian), Santana Formation, Araripe Basin, Northeast Brazil. Anais da Academia Brasileira de Ciências 69 (1), 8387.
Eck, K., Elgin, R. A. & Frey, E. 2011. On the osteology of Tapejara wellnhoferi Kellner 1989 and the first occurrence of multiple specimen assemblage from the Santana Formation, Araripe Basin, NE-Brazil. Swiss Journal of Palaeontology 130 (2), 277–96.
Fastnacht, M. 2001. First record of Coloborhynchus (Pterosauria) from the Santana Formation (Lower Cretaceous) of the Chapada do Araripe, Brazil. Paläontologische Zeitschrift 75 (1), 336.
Frey, E., Martill, D. M. & Buchy, M. C. 2003. A new crested ornithocheirid from the Lower Cretaceous of northeastern Brazil and the unusual death of an unusual pterosaur. In Buffetaut, E. & Mazin, J. M. (eds) Evolution and palaeobiology of pterosaurs. Geological Society, London, Special Publications 217, 5563. Bath, UK: The Geological Society Publishing House.
Hone, D. W. E. & Benton, M. J. 2007. An evaluation of the phylogenetic relationships of the pterosaurs to the archosauromorph reptiles. Journal of Systematic Palaeontology 5 (4), 465–69.
Howse, S. C. B., Milner, A. R. & Martill, D. M. 2001. Pterosaurs. In Martill, D. M. & Naish, D. (eds) Dinosaurs of the Isle of Wight, 324–55. London: The Palaeontological Association.
Kellner, A. W. A. 1996. Reinterpretation of a remarkably well-preserved pterosaur soft tissue from the Early Cretaceous of Brazil. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology 16 (4), 718–22.
Kellner, A. W. A. 2003. Pterosaur phylogeny and comments on the evolutionary history of the group. In Buffetaut, E. & Mazin, J. M. (eds) Evolution and palaeobiology of pterosaurs. Geological Society, London, Special Publications 217, 105–37. Bath, UK: The Geological Society Publishing House.
Kellner, A. W. A. 2004a. The ankle structure of two pterodactyloid pterosaurs from the Santana Formation (Lower Cretaceous), Brazil. Bulletin American Museum of Natural History 285, 2535.
Kellner, A. W. A. 2004b. New information on the Tapejaridae (Pterosauria, Pterodactyloidea) and discussion of the relationships of this clade. Ameghiniana 41, 521–34.
Kellner, A. W. A. 2010. Comments on the Pteranodontidae (Pterosauria, Pterodactyloidea) with the description of two new species. Anais Academia Brasileira de Ciências 82 (4), 1063–84.
Kellner, A.W.A., Campos, D. A., Sayão, J. M., Saraiva, A. A. F., Rodrigues, T., Oliveira, G., Cruz, L. A., Costa, F. R., Silva, H. P. & Ferreira, J. S. 2013. The largest flying reptile from Gondwana: a new specimen of Tropeognathus cf. T. mesembrinus Wellnhofer, 1987 (Pterodactyloidea, Anhangueridae) and other large pterosaurs from the Romualdo Formation, Lower Cretaceous, Brazil. Anais da Academia Brasileira de Ciências 85(1), 113–35.
Kellner, A. W. A. & Campos, D. A. 2002. The function of the cranial crest and jaws of a unique pterosaur from the Early Cretaceous of Brazil. Science 297 (5580), 389–92.
Kellner, A. W. A. & Campos, D. A. 2007. Short note on the ingroup relationships of the Tapejaridae (Pterosauria, Pterodactyloidea). Boletim do Museu Nacional – Geologia 75, 114.
Kellner, A. W. A. & Langston, W. Jr. 1996. Cranial remains of Quetzalcoatlus (Pterosauria, Azhdarchidae) from the Late Cretaceous Sediments of Big Bend National Park, Texas. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology 16 (2), 222–31.
Kellner, A. W. A. & Tomida, Y. 2000. Description of a new species of Anhangueridae (Pterodactyloidea) with comments on the pterosaur fauna from the Santana Formation (Aptian-Albian), Northeastern Brazil. National Science Museum Monographs 17, 1135.
Li, J. J., , J. C. & Zhang, B. K. 2003. A new Lower Cretaceous sinopterid pterosaur from the western Liaoning, China. Acta Palaeontologica Sinica 42 (3), 442–46.
, J., Jin, X., Unwin, D., Zhao, J., Azuma, Y. & Ji, Q. 2006. A new species of Huaxiapterus (Pterosauria: Pterodactyloidea) from the Lower Cretaceous of Western Liaoning, China with comments on the systematics of tapejarid pterosaurs. Acta Geologica Sinica 80 (3), 315–26.
, J. C., Gao, Y., Xing, L., Li, Z. & Ji, Q. 2007. A new species of Huaxiapterus (Pterosauria: Tapejaridae) from the Early Cretaceous of Western Liaoning, China. Acta Geologica Sinica 81 (5), 683–87.
, J., Unwin, D., Xu, L., & Zhang, Z. 2008. A new azhdarchoid pterosaur from the Lower Cretaceous of China and its implication for pterosaur phylogeny and evolution. Naturwissenschaften 95 (9), 891–97.
, J., Xu, L., Chang, H. & Zhang, X. 2011. A new darwinopterid pterosaur from the Middle Jurassic of western Liaoning, northeastern China and its ecological implications. Acta Geologica Sinica 85 (3), 507–14
, J. & Yuan, C. 2005. New tapejarid pterosaur from western Liaoning, China. Acta Geologica Sinica 79 (4), 453–58.
Maisey, J. (ed.) 1991. Santana fossils: an illustrated Atlas. Neptune, New Jersey: T.F.H. Publications. 459 pp.
Neumann, V. H. & Cabrera, L. 1999. Una nueva propuesta estratigráfica para la tecnosecuencia post-rifte de la cuenca de Araripe, Noreste de Brasil. 5° Simpósio sobre o Cretáceo do Brasil, Serra Negra 279–85.
Ösi, A., Prondvai, E., Frey, E. & Pohl, B. 2010. New interpretation of the palate of pterosaurs. The Anatomical Record 293 (2), 243–58.
Peters, D. 2000. A reexamination of four prolacertiforms with implications for pterosaur phylogenesis. Rivista Italiana di Paleontologia e Stratigrafia 106, 293336.
Pinheiro, F. L., Fortier, D. C., Schultz, C. L., Andrade, J. A. F. G. de & Bantim, R. A. M. 2011. New information of the pterosaur Tupandactylus imperator, with comments on the relationships of Tapejaridae. Acta Palaeontologica Polonica 56 (3), 567–80.
Pons, D., Berthou, P. Y. & Campos, D. A. 1990. Quelques observations sur la palynologie de l'Aptien supérieur et del'Albien do bassin d'Araripe (N-E du Brasil). In Campos, D. A., Viana, M. S. S., Brito, P. M. & Beurlen, G. (eds) Atas do Simpósio sobre a Bacia do Araripe e Bacias interiores do Nordeste, 142252.
Price, L. I. 1971. A presença de Pterosauria no Cretáceo Inferior da Chapada do Araripe, Brasil. Anais da Academia Brasileira de Ciências 43 (supl), 451–61.
Rodrigues, T. & Kellner, A. W. A. 2008. Review of the pterodactyloid Coloborhynchus. In Hone, D. W. E. & Buffetaut, E. (eds) Flugsaurier: pterosaur papers in honour of Peter Wellnhofer. Zitteliana B 28, 210–28.
Unwin, D. M. 2003. On the phylogeny and evolutionary history of pterosaurs.In Buffetaut, E. & Mazin, J. M. (eds) Evolution and palaeobiology of pterosaurs. Geological Society, London, Special Publications 217, 139–90. Bath, UK: The Geological Society Publishing House.
Unwin, D. M. & , J. 1997. On Zhejiangopterus and the relationships of pterodactyloid pterosaurs. Historical Biology 12 (3–4), 199210.
Vila Nova, B. C., Saraiva, A. A. F., Moreira, J. K. R. & Sayão, J. M. 2011. Controlled excavations in the Romualdo Formation lagerstätte (Araripe Basin, Brazil) and pterosaur diversity: remarks based on new findings. Palaios 26 (3), 173–79.
Vullo, R., Marugán-Lobón, J., Kellner, A. W. A., Buscalioni, A. G., Gomez, B., Fuente, M. & Moratalla, J. J. 2012. A New Crested Pterosaur from the Early Cretaceous of Spain: The First European Tapejarid (Pterodactyloidea: Azhdarchoidea). Plos One 7, e38900. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0038900.
Wang, X. L., Campos, D. A., Zhou, Z. H. & Kellner, A. W. A. 2008. A primitive istiodactylid pterosaur (Pterodactyloidea) from the Jiufotang Formation (Early Cretaceous), northeast China. Zootaxa 1813, 118.
Wang, X. L., Kellner, A. W. A., Jiang, S. X., Cheng, X., Meng, X. & Rodrigues, T. 2010. New long-tailed pterosaurs (Wukongopteridae) from western Liaoning, China. Anais da Academia Brasileira de Ciências 82 (4), 1045–62.
Wang, X. & Zhou, Z. 2002. [A new pterosaur (Pterodactyloidea, Tapejaridae) from the Early Cretaceous Jiufotang Formation of western Liaoning, China and its implication for biostratigraphy.] Chinese Science Bulletin 47, 1521–28. [In Chinese. Translation: Chinese Science Bulletin (2003) 48 (1), 16–23.]
Wang, X. & Zhou, Z. 2006. Pterosaur assemblages of the Jehol Biota and their implication for the Early Cretaceous pterosaur radiation. Geological Journal 41 (3–4), 405–18.
Wellnhofer, P. 1975. Die Rhamphorhynchoidea (Pterosauria) der Oberjura-Plattenkalke Süddeutschlands. I: Allgemeine Skeltettmorphologie. Paläontographica A 148, 133.
Wellnhofer, P. 1978. Pterosauria. Handbuch der Palaeoherpetologie Teil 19. Stuttgart: Gustav Fischer Verlag. 82 pp.
Wellnhofer, P. 1985. Neue Pterosaurier aus der Santana Formation (Apt) der Chapada do Araripe. Palaeontographica A 187, 105–82.
Wellnhofer, P. 1991. The illustrated encyclopedia of pterosaurs. London: Salamander Books. 192 pp.
Witton, M. P. 2008. A new azhdarchoid pterosaur from the Crato Formation (Lower Cretaceous, Aptian?) of Brazil. Palaeontology 51 (6), 12891300.
Witton, M. P. 2009. A new species of Tupuxuara (Thalassodromidae, Azhdarchoidea) from the Lower Cretaceous Santana Formation of Brazil, with a note on the nomenclature of Thalassodromidae. Cretaceous Research 30 (5), 1293–300.
Young, C. C. 1973. Reports of Paleontological Expedition to Sinkiang (II). Pterosaurian Fauna from Wuerho, Sinkiang. Memoires of the Institute of Vertebrate Palaeontology and Paleoanthropology, Acadia Sinica 11, 1835.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Earth and Environmental Science Transactions of The Royal Society of Edinburgh
  • ISSN: 1755-6910
  • EISSN: 1755-6929
  • URL: /core/journals/earth-and-environmental-science-transactions-of-royal-society-of-edinburgh
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *



Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed