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A new azhdarchoid pterosaur from the Late Cretaceous Javelina Formation of Texas

Abstract

A historic specimen described for the first time revealed important autapomorphic characters, permitting the definition of a new species, Javelinadactylus sagebieli gen. n. et sp. n., which represents the second toothless species from the Javelina Formation, Big Bend National Park of West Texas (United States of America). The remains of J. sagebieli (Azhdarchoidea: Tapejaridae) were found in 1986, but were never properly studied, and its taxonomic affinity remains undefined. The description is based on a partially articulated skull and mandible, which offer information on the anatomy of a single azhdarchoid pterosaur. J. sagebieli exhibit a large nasoantorbital fenestra, a rostral index of medium value and is assigned to the clade Thalassodrominae, a group of tapejarid pterosaurs that were reported exclusively from the Romualdo Formation of Brazil, with only two genera known. Thalassodromines are characterized by a typical cranial configuration with toothless jaws and a high and wide premaxilla bar, formed by sub-parallel or parallel borders. The new specimen described here represents the first record of the Tapejaridae group in the Maastrichtian of North America, and the cranial morphology of the new taxon increase the richest of the diversity of the azhdarchoid pterosaurs during the end of the Late Cretaceous, suggesting that the tapejarids were still diversifying in the Maastrichtian.

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Acknowledgements

Thanks to Dr. Jorge Calvo (Proyecto Dino, Neuquén, Argentina) to provide information on Argentinadraco barrealensis. To Dr. James Sagebiel of the Texas Vertebrate Paleontology Collections (University of Texas) for the permission to publish the material. To Dr. Carl Mehling of the American Museum of Natural History, (New York, USA) to permit the study of pterosaurs specimens. To Dr. Alexander Kellner for permission to access the specimens deposited at the Museu Nacional (UFRJ, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil). To Dr. Eberhard “Dino” Frey for the permission to study the specimens housed at the Naturkunde Museum Karlsruhe (Germany). And, I would like to thank the editor and the reviewers for taking time in reading and suggesting modifications to the paper. I highly appreciate it, as the comments have been very useful to improve the paper. I did several modifications to the initial manuscript based on the suggestions of the reviewers.

Funding

This study was partially funded by the Collection Student Grant from American Museum of Natural History, New York, USA), and the National Council for scientific and Technological Development (CNPq) of Brazil [Process number: 290025/2015]. This work also was supported by Slovak Research and Development Agency contracts No. APVV-0436-12; UNESCO-Amba/MVTS supporting grant of Presidium of the Slovak Academy of Sciences; the Slovak Scientific Grant Agency VEGA 2/0042/18.

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Campos, H.B.N. A new azhdarchoid pterosaur from the Late Cretaceous Javelina Formation of Texas. Biologia (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11756-021-00841-7

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Keywords

  • Texas
  • Cretaceous
  • Pterosauria
  • Azhdarchoidea
  • Javelinadactylus sagebieli