Facts about pterodactyls

We found 20 facts about pterodactyls

Flying reptiles

Pterodactyls, despite common beliefs, are not the ancestors of present-day birds. What is more, there was no such animal as Pterodactyl—the name refers to a whole clade of winged reptiles from the times when the Earth was dominated by gigantic animals, specifically to two genera of pterosaurs - Pterodactylus and Pteranodons.
Pterodactyl is a common name referring to two genera of the pterosaur clade.
A clade is a group of monophyletic organisms, meaning they share a common ancestor. Although it is not known when and why the term Pterodactyl was adapted into the common language, everyone, except for paleontologists, uses it to describe pterosaurs.
The pterosaur clade consists of many genera, including Pterodactylus and Pteranodon, which are the most commonly depicted in modern culture.
Paleontologists claim there are more than 130 valid pterosaur genera, which fossils were found in Asia, Europe, and the Americas.
Pterodactylus contains a single species, Pterodactylus antiquus.
Currently, there is no evidence to suggest there were more species belonging to the genus Pterodactylus.
Pteranodon currently contains two species, Pteranodon longiceps, and Pteranodon sternbergi.
Scientists unearthed over 1,200 specimens of Pteranodon and distinguished two species based on their skulls.
Pterodactyls were not dinosaurs.
They were identified as flying reptiles. It goes for the whole clade.
Paleontologists determined Pterodactyls were not covered in feathers.
They were reptilian in appearance, however, some evidence suggests that there might have been separate genera, at least partially covered in hair-like structures.
Pterodactyls spanned from the Late Jurassic (163,5 million years ago) through the Late Cretaceous (66 million years ago).
Pterodactylus derives from Greek and means “winged finger.”
Pterodactylus fossils were primarily discovered in Bavaria, Germany, by Italian scientist Cosimo Collini in 1784.
Many fossils have since been uncovered throughout Europe and Africa.
Until the 1830s, many naturalists believed that Pterodactylus were marine amphibians that used their wings as flippers.
Pteranodon fossils were unearthed in North America in 1870 by the American paleontologist Othniel C. Marsh.
The placement of fossils suggests they inhabited present-day Alabama, Nebraska, South Dakota, Kansas, and Wyoming.
Pterodactylus’ wingspan ranged from 50 centimeters to over a meter, while Pteranodon’s exceeded seven meters.
Pterodactylus and Pteranodons were cold-bloodied.
Pterodactyls had four fingers.
Their wings, made of skin and muscle membrane, stretched from the fourth elongated finger.
Pterodactylus had 90 narrow teeth in their skull, while Pteranodons’ long and slender beaks were toothless.
The most distinctive trait of Pteranodon was its cranial crest.
Pteranodon longiceps’ is described as prolonged, blade-like, and pointing backward. However, it could differ depending on age and sex.

Pteranodon sternbergi’s crest was more rounded, and harp-like in appearance, and its size also may have depended on the age and sex.
The primary purpose of the cranial crest has not yet been determined.
It may have served as a counterbalance to their long beaks to avoid stressing neck muscles. Paleontologists also theorize it may have served as a mid-flight rudder or may have been used to court females.
It is believed that pterodactyls had primarily fed on fish.
Pterodactylus’ diet was more diversified than Pteranodons’ thanks to their toothing, and consisted not only of fish but also small animals.
Most likely, pterodactyls walked on four limbs.
Paleontologists drew this conclusion from examining their fossilized footprints.
Neither Pterodactylus nor Pteranodons were the biggest of pterosaurs.
Quetzalcoatlus’ wingspan exceeded 12 meters. It is considered the largest avian animal ever to exist.
Hungry for more facts?

Similar topics

18 facts about Black-headed python
18 facts about Black-headed python
Aspidites melanocephalus
These non-venomous snakes live exclusively in Australia where they inhabit many different ecosystems. They live in burrows, which provide them with bo ...
18 facts about alligator snapping turtle
18 facts about alligator snapping turtle
Macrochelys temminckii
The alligator snapping turtle is one of the most memorable turtle species because of its intriguing look. They can be found in North and Central Ameri ...
20 facts about Blue-Tongued Lizard
20 facts about Blue-Tongued Lizard
Blue-tongue skinks
They are named for their blue tongues, which contrast with their pink mouths to ward off potential predators. The brightness and size of the tongue al ...
15 facts about Yellow spotted lizard
15 facts about Yellow spotted lizard
Lepidophyma flavimaculatum
Those tropical lizards are very little known to humans. They are difficult to meet in the wild, and not many people keep them in captivity. Although t ...
25 facts about Gila monster
25 facts about Gila monster
Heloderma suspectum
The Gila monster is one of the few venomous lizards in the world, the only extant venomous species in the United States. It is easily distinguished by ...
20 facts about black caiman
20 facts about black caiman
Melanosuchus niger
Endemic to Central and South America, the black caiman is the largest caiman species. It is closely related to alligators and easily distinguished fro ...
14 facts about Spinosaurus
14 facts about Spinosaurus
Spinosaurus means "spine lizard."
Spinosaurus is thought to be the largest predatory dinosaur that ever walked the Earth. Its enormous skull with crocodile appearance was extremely goo ...
17 facts about Bull snake
17 facts about Bull snake
One of the largest snakes in Canada and United States
They are often mistaken for rattlesnakes due to similar look and behavior. Bull snakes are found in areas abundant with rodents which are their favori ...

Latest topics

18 facts about Orsay Museum
18 facts about Orsay Museum
France's second most visited museum after the Louvre
The Museum d'Orsay is one of the most important museums in Paris, located in a former railway station on the banks of the Seine. It specializes in Eur ...
28 facts about Neuschwanstein Castle
28 facts about Neuschwanstein Castle
Fairytale Castle
Neuschwanstein Castle is one of the most famous and picturesque buildings in Germany. It is located in Bavaria and was built in the 19th century by or ...
21 facts about ballet
21 facts about ballet
History of the art of ballet through the ages
Ballet is considered an elite art form, involving much sacrifice and hard work, performed from an early age. It originated in the royal courts of Euro ...
14 facts about steel
14 facts about steel
Just a bit of carbon changes everything
Steel is a highly versatile and durable material used in a wide range of industries, including construction, automotive, aerospace, and manufacturing. ...
19 facts about Sea otter
19 facts about Sea otter
Animals nearly extinct due to fur trade
With their playful personalities, adorable faces, and impressive tool skills, sea otters are among the most fascinating and charismatic animals in the ...
18 facts about Alpaca
18 facts about Alpaca
Highly intelligent, swift learning and gentle animals
Most of the world's alpaca population is found in South America, in the Altiplano region of Peru-Chile-Bolivia, where they are currently found only on ...
24 facts about Coyote
24 facts about Coyote
North America's loudest wild mammal
The coyote is an indispensable figure in the mythology of North America's indigenous peoples, as well as in most Wild West ranching and cattle movies. ...
25 facts about Galapagos Islands
25 facts about Galapagos Islands
Islands of the tortoises
The Galapagos Islands are an archipelago of volcanic islands, islets and coral reefs in the Pacific Ocean. Since the nineteenth century it has belonge ...

Similar topics