Tag Archives: jaws

Tapejara skull, part 2: mandible and crest

Unlike my previous pterosaur reconstructions, where I made the skull with the final result in mind, this time I decided to model individual skull bones as closely as possible. This is investigative work and it allows me to test the connections, articulations and have a better understanding of its anatomy. I also believe that this will result in an even more accurate and robust model.

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Skull parts partially assembled.

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A quick & dirty assembly of all the skull parts.

Using several different specimens as sources, and reconstructions based on some specimens, I was able to compare details and choose the ones that were best preserved. I made and will make some changes based on that. The palate, for example, was initially modeled from a reconstruction based on AMNH 24440. I now plan to adjust it based on the perfectly preserved palate from IMCF 1061 (unfortunately I still have not received authorization to publish the original photos here so they can be compared).

The lower jaw (mandible) is practically finished. I just need to review it with the sources and make minor adjustments before working on the texture (with fire) and finishing it with acrylic modeling paste.

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The part which contains the rostrum, the crest, maxilla, palate, etc. and part of the caudal bones of the skull is also nearly finished, but I will have to fix the palate to adapt it to the IMCF specimen (I will merge them with the visible details of the AMNH specimen).

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I am now working on the neurocranium, which also includes part of the orbit, frontal, parietal, squamosal and a posterior crest. Making this separately will allow me to work on the details of the braincase, which will be partially visible.

There are some other smaller parts which I am making separately: two quadrates (which articulate with the lower jaw), two sets including the quadratojugal and nearby structures, and two lacrimal bones.  I decided to make these separately because they are very well preserved in several specimens, so I can focus on the details.

Here are some more photos of the Tapejara so far. In the next post I will publish photos of the neurocranium. The skull should be finished by the end of this week.

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Many thanks to Brian Andres, Hebert Bruno Campos and Felipe Pinheiro who provided me with information, sources and feedback which allowed me to improve this model.

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Filed under Pterosaur #7: Tapejara

Tupuxuara: fixing the jaw

new mandible

My last post was about the finished Tupuxuara. It was finished, since I did my best with what I had: great fossil pictures. But I only had one side view of the lower jaw. So I was able to make the mandible look like the one in the picture but had to imagine what it would look like from above, below and inside. I used the upper jaw and palate as a starting point, but I was wrong. Shortly after I finished the skull I received the photos of the mandible: it doesn’t match the format of the upper jaw as I thought it did. It is wider on the sides and narrower at the back. The sides are almost parallel from the middle to the back. The mandible body is much larger. There are also many other small details I left out.

So then I had to decide beween making a new one or fixing the one I have. Since the existing incorrect mandible is already in the correct size, and similar (at least when viewed from the sides) to the correct one, I decided to fix it.

I still don’t have authorization to post the pictures of the fossil here to compare the results, but you can see them in my computer screen.

So here is the plan. I matched the photos in scale to the previous ones I used before, and drew a guide on paper.


From that guide I cut out a piece of foam to start filling in the gap which was too large, and to help reshape the jaw:


First I glued the tip in place so I could mold the arms of the mandible twisting them slightly outward and downward, shaping it like the picture.

filling 2

After that, I scraped the acrylic resin to expose the foam and make gluing more efficient.

filling 3

And held everything in place until it was dry. Now the shape of the mandible already resembles the correct one.

filling 4

I reinforced the insides since I was twisting the foam a lot and then I worked on the other side, which has some ridges (which I could see from the side view) and a concave center (which I could not see from the side view).

other side 1 other side 2

After these changes the mandible had the correct shape, but the sides were no longer vertical but flatly slanted outwards. I added some foam on the top sides of the outer arms of the jaw to compensate this.


Then I did some finishing with fire. This is the result.


I also had some photos showing the insides of the mandible arms. Just one angle though, and not very detailed, but enough to add see two small cavities on either side which I added to my model.


When everything was dry I finished it with fire, covered it with a layer of acrylic resin and let it dry overnight. The next day I stained it with coffee.


And that’s it. Now Tupuxuara has the right jaw. Below are some photos of the finished mandible and of the skull with the mandible attached.

Top, bottom and side views

This is the bottom


This is the top


And these are the sides.

side1 side2

Here are some views in different angles.

angle side angle top

And a close-up showing the mandible body

close up

Tupuxuara with mandible attached

Here are some photos showing the mandible attached to the skull.

attached front side attached side attached_under_1 attached_under


Finished Tupuxuara with new mandible

allside1 allside2


Filed under Pterosaur #5: Tupuxuara

Imaginary Pterosaur #4: a toothless dsungaripterid

I finished #4 before #3, but Tupandactylus will be declared finished some time this weekend. As usual, finished means 95-99% done. I can always correct something, rip out a bone, reshape. I only add resin to the parts which may wear out (jaw and spine connections), so I can always improve other parts of the skull as I learn more about it.

This specimen is a truly imaginary pterosaur, but that may change. It is based on yet unpublished research, and it does have proposed species and specific names. When all of that becomes public, I will update this blog and change the category names for the posts on pterosaur #4. But, of course, there is a chance that the article may be rejected, and that this pterosaur does not really exist. If that happens, I might add some teeth and transform pterosaur #4 into the chinese Dsungaripterus, or leave it the way it is, Imaginary, until someone digs one out someday 🙂 Below are some pictures of the finished skull.

View of the head with the mandible detached


Bottom, top and side views

This is a view of the skull from underneath showing the palate. It is completely speculative. Most fossils are closed and don’t show these details, so I based it on the other pterosaurs that I have studied so far, like the Anhanguera. I still need to see better pictures at different angles to understand how to make a good pterosaur palate.


These views have the mandible connected.





Views from different angles

front_side head_cav_2

Soon I will start making the body of one of the last three pterosaurs: Anhanguera, Tupandactylus or Pterosaur #4. I still haven’t decided which one.

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Filed under Pterosaur #4: Banguela oberlii

Improved skull with new mandible

I haven’t finished all the cavities inside the skull, but I fixed the mandible and made the sinus cavities. Next step is to make the brain cavities.

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Filed under Pterosaur #1: Guidraco