Tupuxuara leonardi and Tupuxuara longicristatus

  • Worldwide

The Azhdarchoidea were a group of medium-sized to very large short-tailed pterosaurs, which occurred in the Cretaceous world. They survived along with Nyctosaurus the only pterosaurs to the Cretaceous - Tertiary boundary and then died out. These also include a Quetzalcoatlus and Hatzegopteryx, the largest known pterosaurs. The name derives for the short-tailed pterosaurs ( Pterodactyloidea ) scoring Azhdarchoidea is the genus Azhdarcho whose name dates back to the name of Dragon from the Persian.


The Azhdarchoidea were, besides Pteranodon and Nyctosaurus, the only completely toothless pterosaurs. Her skull was built high above the orbit ( eye socket ), with early forms often provided parrot -like short and with a big bone comb on the back of the head, in the later Azhdarchidae rather long, with a marabou -like long beak and with no or only a small bone comb.

Fossils of early Azhdarchoidea were found mainly in the Brazilian Santana and Crato formations, as well as in the Chinese Jehol Group. All three fossil deposits were deposited in the lower Cretaceous. These early Azhdarchoidea reached wingspans of up to six meters. They probably lived over the sea, and pursued their fish prey perhaps the type of today's skimmers by flying over the water surface, these furrowed with open beak and when it came to a contact with a fish, zuklappten the beak in a sudden movement. These early Azhdarchoidea disappeared at the boundary of sub - to Upper Cretaceous.

The Azhdarchoidea from the Upper Cretaceous form a monophyletic group, the family Azhdarchidae. Fossils of the animals, with the exception of South America and Antarctica found worldwide. There were medium-sized to very large pterosaurs with long necks, powerful hind legs and wing spans of up to twelve meters. They lived in more terrestrial habitats, probably often stayed on the ground and chased after the fashion giant storks or malnourished as marabouts of carrion. They died out 65.5 million years at the end of the Cretaceous period.

Inside systematics

  • Azhdarchoidea Lonchodectidae
  • Tapejaridae
  • Neoazdarchia Tupuxuara
  • Thalassodromeus
  • Azhdarchidae