(meaning "the old beings") are a family
of pterodactyloid pterosaurs
from the early Cretaceous period
. Members are currently known from Brazil
, where the most primitive genera are found, indicating that the family has an Asian origin.
Tapejaridae may be composed of two subfamilies: a Tapejarinae of "Huaxiapterus" corrolatus
, "Tapejara" navigans
, and Tupandactylus
, and a Thalassodrominae of Thalassodromeus
. Some studies, such as one by Lü and colleagues in 2008, have found that the thalassodromines are more closely related to the azhdarchids
proper than to the tapejarids, and have placed them in their own family (which has sometimes been referred to as Tupuxuaridae, though Thalassodrominae was named first).
- Family Tapejaridae
- Subfamily Tapejarinae
- Subfamily Thalassodrominae
The exact relationships of tapejarids to one another and to other azhdarchoid
pterosaurs has historically been unclear, with different studies producing significantly different cladograms
(family trees). It is also unclear exactly which pterosaurs belong to the Tapejaridae; some researchers have found the thalassodromines
to be a member of this family, while other studies have found them to be more closely related to the azhdarchids
(in the clade Neoazhdarchia
). Some studies have even allowed the possibility that the "tapejarids" as traditionally thought of are paraphyletic
, that is, they may not form a natural group but instead represent sequential branches of the tree leading to the more advanced neoazhdarchians. Below are two alternate cladograms presented by Martill and Naish in 2006, the first showing a monophyletic
(natural) tapejaridae, the second showing them as a paraphyletic grade.