STL Science Center

STL Science Center

16 March 2012

The Tupi People

From David Hone's blog with Mark Witton as guest writer.
I have been searching for about a half hour for the meaning of Tupuxuara longicristatus. The Latin species name means long crested, nothing funky there at all. The generic name, however, comes from the Tupi people and the only reference I have seen is that it has something to do with a familiar spirit, a familiar being this guy here. At any rate, the Tupi, and Tupuxuara, come from Brazil. Tupuxuara, unlike the Tupi, was discovered in 1988 and named and described by Alexander Kellner as lead author. A second species also described by Kellner was discovered in 1994, so this genus possesses two valid species, until 2009 that is. In that recent year Mark Witton described a third species bringing us up to have T. longicristatus Kellner & Campos, 1988, T. leonardii Kellner, 1994, and T. deliradamus Witton, 2009. Tupuxuara is the first pterosaur of Pterosaur Month that was a toothless flying reptile. It is also the first with good evidence presented in the form of scleral rings which show a diurnal lifestyle.

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