STL Science Center

STL Science Center

21 March 2012

Finding the Tupuxuara

The Cretaceous Santana Formation of Brazil yielded the first specimen of the genus Tupuxuara back in the 1980's. The snout of the skull along with some partial wing bones were described by Alexander Kellner and Diogenes de Almeida Campos in 1988. Later remains recovered from the area point to differences in the flying reptile based on age and sex and have contributed to the overall picture of the animal. In the 1990's a second species was described from a partial skull with a much more rounded crest by Kellner. Another decade brought the third species into being described when, in 2009, Mark Witton described T. deliradamus. This species was also described off a partial skull but this one had a diamond shape opening in the skull and that, along with Witton's favorite band Pink Floyd, gave the species its name which means "crazy diamond"; an allusion to both the shape and the Pink Floyd song "Shine on You Crazy Diamond". The genus belongs to the group Azhdarchoidea. Kellner has related it to the Tapejara family, but others feel it belongs further from that family and closer to the core branch of Azhdarchoidea which includes Quetzalcoatlus. In these infographics, Tupuxuara is only shown in the Tapejara, but you decide which group it's closer to for yourself:

Both images borrowed from

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