Tapejara (Tupi for "old being"); pronounced TOP-ay-HAR-ah
Seashores of South America
Early-Middle Cretaceous (120-100 million years ago)
Size and Weight:
Wingspan of up to 12 feet and weight of up to 80 pounds
Short tail; downward-pointing jaw; large headcrest
It's not only modern South America that breeds brilliantly colored varieties of flying creatures. Over 100 million years ago, during the middle Cretaceous period, Tapejara graced the seashores of South America with its huge (up to three feet tall) head crest, which was probably brightly colored to attract mates. In common with the more evolved pterosaurs of this period, Tapejara had a relatively short tail, and it likely used its downward-curving beak to pluck fish from the sea. This pterosaur was closely related to the similarly colorful (and similarly named) Tupuxuara, which also flew the skies of South America.