Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Chordata
Superclass Tetrapoda
Class Reptilia
Subclass Diapsida
Order Pterosauria
Suborder Pterodactyloidea
Superfamily Azhdarchoidea
Family Tapejaridae
Subfamily Tapejarinae
Genus Tupandactylus
1st Species Tupandactylus imperator
Other attributes
Time Range 120-112 mya
Location Brazil
Name Meaning Tupan finger
Physical Dimensions 4 meter wingspan for T. imperator
Weight 20 kilograms for T. imperator
Dietary Classification Omnivore
Tupandactylus is a tapejarid pterosaurian reptile from the Early Cretaceous of Brazil. It was officially named in 2007 by Alexander Kellner and Diogenes de Almeida Campos. It is one of the more scientifically well-known pterosaurs to exist, and was thought to be a species of Tapejara before finally being described as its own genus.


Tupandactylus was a pterosaur with with 4 legs (2 of which served as wings), 3 regular fingers on each hand (joined by an elongated 4th finger which supports the wing membrane), a small body, a short tail, and a short, toothless beak. Perhaps the most defining trait of Tupandactylus was the huge, rounded crest atop its head; as well as this, it had larger claws than most other pterosaurs did. Most of its body (excluding its beak, crest, and wings) would have been covered in a fur-like covering called pycnofibers; its body may have been black in color, with a red crest.


Tupandactylus was an omnivore, feeding mainly on fruits and seeds, but also sometimes snacking on small arthropods, lizards and amphibians. Its blunt and thickly-built beak was similar to that of a parrot, and so, it is presumed that it ate in a similar manner to the modern bird, using its beak to crush food.


Tupandactylus had a massive, rounded, flamboyant crest atop its head, which was likely used for display; whether it was used for attracting mates or for recognition by other members of its species is unknown. As well as this, unidentified pterosaur remains that may or may not belong to Tupandactylus indicate that it had larger claws than many other pterosaurs did; it is likely that it used those claws for climbing up steep slopes, as its habitat was defined by hot, dry lagoons with upland forests. Due to its blunt, parrot-like beak, Tupandactylus mainly fed on seeds from early flowering plants, using its beak to crush them; however, it would have also incorporated small animals into its diet from time to time, snatching them up with its beak before gobbling them up. Despite its small eyes, Tupandactylus would have had exceptional eyesight (even more so than most other pterosaurs); due to this, it is likely that it would have relied on vision when foraging, hunting, or interacting with other members of its species.

In popular cultureEdit

In the fourth episode of the 1999 documentary Walking with Dinosaurs, a flock of Tapejara fly around the coastal cliffs and engage in mating rituals during the breeding season, right before a (considerably oversized) Tropeognathus (referred to as an "Ornithocheirus") flies near. Instead of being depicted with their proper skull, the Tapejara themselves are portrayed with the skull of Tupandactylus navigans, which was understandable at the time, since T.navigans was once a species of Tapejara before becoming a species of Tupandactylus (this error could potentially become a bit more jarring, as it is possible that T.navigans may very well be its own genus).

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