One of the pterosaurs most know well from it’s many media appearances, Tapejara often gets its image confused with Tupandactylus. This is because Tupandactylus was once considered a species of Tapejara called T. imperator because of its large size and similar magnificent crest. They are now decisively known as two different animals. Tapejara himself however was slightly smaller with a 3.5 meter wingspan. It’s main identifier is it’s strange head ornamentation that consisted of a small hump-like nasal crest that smoothed back down into a rearward pointing prong. Contrary to the original belief when it was discovered, the crest serves no aerodynamic function; it was instead for a colorful display to identify members of its own species from other pterosaurs. While it did live seaside in mid Cretaceous Brazil, it was not actually a fish eater, but instead it indulged itself on juicy fruits that would’ve grown in the nearby forests. It was active during both day and night given it’s cathemeral preferences that are understood by its fossilized eye rings. This activity flexibility likely helped it avoid predators like Irritator that might’ve staked out its favorite fruit feasts during the day. When they weren’t munching on prehistoric fruit salad, they noisily soaked up the sun on the tall limestone cliffs, bickering with other pterosaurs for a perch.
- The Santana formation in Brazil where Tapejara was found had many different types of pterosaurs of all sizes filling every ecological niche possible. Alongside Tapejara these include Tupandactylus, Tupuxuara, Santanadactylus, Tropeognathus, Anhanguera, and many more.
- Unlike the Ornithocheirids it shared its home with, Tapejara was not a soarer. It was more of an active flyer based on its muscle groups, and it would’ve been more acrobatic in flight than most. This would’ve been key to maneuvering through the jungle to reach its fruit dinner.
- Tapejara is known from well preserved fossil remains that show intricate detail. At least two specimens were 100% complete found in slaps of limestone.
- It’s name means “Ancient Entity,” derived from the language of the Brazilian native Tupi people. It is pronounced “Top-ay-har-ah.”
Would you like to see Tapejara in Jurassic World: Alive?
How do you think it would be in game?
Dinosaurs we would Like #21 - Oviraptor