Cearadactylus atrox nov. gen., nov. sp.: a new Pterosauria (Pterodactyloidea) from the Ararípe-Plateau, Ceará, Brazil.
A skull with mandible ascribed to a Pterosauria (Pterodactyloidea) is described. It originates from Lower Cretaceous, Santana formation, Ararípe-Plateau, Ceará, Brazil. A new genus and species is instituted.
Classis: Reptilia Laurenti, 1768 Subclassis: Archosauria Cope, 1869 Ordo: Pterosauria Kaup, 1874 Subordo: Pterodactyloidea Plieninger, 1901 Familia indet.
Cearadactylus nov. gen.
Diagnose of the genus: large pterosaurian, but not a giant one, predator. Skull long and low. Anterior ends of both skull and man¬dible spatulated. The alveolar borders of the premaxillae do not occlude with the jaw, thus leaving a wide gap. Premaxillary and anterior dentary teeth considerably longer than the other ones cro¬oked, stretched outwards. The antero-superior border of the antorbital fenestra (fused with the external naris) is formed only by the premaxilla.
Derivatio nominis: from the state of Ceará from where the skull proceeds; and from the Greek δάχτυλος = digit, with reference to the long IV digit of the Pterosauria.
Type-species: Cearadactylus atrox nov. gen. nov. sp.
Type by monotypy
Cearadactylus atrox nov. gen. nov. sp.
Figs. 1 and 2: table.
Holotype: skull with jaw; tabular region and braincase lacking.
Depositorium: Borgomanero collection — Rua Almirante Tamandaré 915. 80000 Curitiba PR, Brazil. N° F-PV-93. [NB: the holotype is now conserved in the collection of the Departamente Nacional de Produção Mineral-DNPA, Seção de Paleontologia, Urca, Praia Vermelha, Av. Pasteur, 404 — Rio de Janeiro, Brazil]
Plastotype: cast of the holotype deposited in the Paleontological Section of the "Departamento Nacional de Produção Mineral", Av. Pasteur, 404 — Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brazil.
Horizon, type and age: Member Romualdo, Santana Formation, Araripe Group, Lower Cretaceous, Aptian.
Type locality: Araripe-Plateau, Ceará, Brazil. The precise locality is unknown, out the specimen may possibly originate from the eas¬tern end of the Plateau.
Derivatio nominis: atrox: from the Latin, means cruel; with refe¬rence to the undoubtedly carnivorous diet s. l. (probably psicivorous), as well as to the long teeth which represented a veritable trap for the prey.
Diagnose of the species: large pterosaurian, but not a giant one (wing-span about 4 m in the adult), predator; skull showing the follo¬wing features: skull long and low, general outline, in zenithal view, elongated, birsoyd, with rostral end spatulated. The alveolar bor¬ders of the premaxillary do not occlude with the jaw, leaving a wide gap. Premaxillary dentition very long and, except the most anterior teeth, obliquely outward stretched and curved; maxillary teeth spaced, short, conical, not very sharp and slightly stretched back¬ward. The teeth of the dentary show a strictly similar disposition and pattern. All teeth alternate in the upper and inferior rows, so that they interfinger, while in the occlusion the lower ones lie exter¬nal to the maxillary, and the upper ones lie external to the mandi¬ble. Antorbital fenestra (fused with the external naris) very long, with the posterior border forming an angle of about 90° with the lower border; the maxilla does not bound its upper margin. Long groove along almost the entire length of the suture between premaxillae. Sagittal crest lacking, at least until the first third part of the antorbital opening. Base of the temporal region (between the quadrate and the posterior border of the antorbital fenestra) narrow and funnel shaped. Length of the symphysis equal to nearly one third of the mandible. Mandibular ramus deeper than the rostral portion of the skull. Anterior end of the mandible spatulated.
Out of curiosity, this pterosaur was mentioned, as animal protagonist, in the novel "Jurassic Park" by Michael Crichton (M. Crichton, Jurassic Park, Arrow, London, 1991, p. 278).