Order - Pterosauria
Family - Tapejaridae
Genus – Tapejara (“Lord of the Ways”)
Species – T. wellnhoferi (two other species, T. imperator and T. navigans, have been assigned to their own genus, Tupandactylus)
Tapejara may have been active at short intervals throughout the day, where it would hunt for food and engage in social activities. It may have been an omnivore (eating both plants and animals).
It is thought that Tupandactylus, despite its wings, may have only been able to fly over short distances, and may have lived much of its life on the ground.
Tapejara was small for a pterosaur, with a wingspan just over four feet long. Its relative, Tupandactylus, which was originally believed to be a species of Tapejara, was much larger, with a wingspan of around 13 feet.
Tapejara, like other pterosaurs, had an elongated finger on each hand that attached to a membrane of skin that allowed them to fly. They were reptiles related to dinosaurs, but were not considered dinosaurs themselves.
Both Tapejara and Tupandactylus had crests on their heads. Tapejara’s crest was relatively small and shaped like a semi-circle, while Tupandactylus had a much larger, triangular crest. The crests were probably used for display purposes.
Tapejara was first named by Brazilian paleontologist Alexander Kellner in 1989. The first species discovered was T. wellnhoferi, named in honor of German paleontologist Peter Wellnhofer. Later, in 1997, another larger species was discovered and named T. imperator. A third species, T. navigans, was later discovered as well.
Eventually it was noted that the two larger Tapejara species were different enough from T. wellnhoferi that they constituted an entirely new genus, and were renamed Tupandactylus in 2006. Many artistic depictions of Tapejara, such as the one featured in the popular survival video game ARK, are actually Tupandactylus.