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ZoomDinosaurs.com
Dinosaur and Paleontology Dictionary
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Click on an underlined word for more information on that subject.
If the dinosaur or paleontology term you are looking for is not in the dictionary, please e-mail us.

PTERANODON
"Winged and Toothless"


ANATOMY
Pteranodons were flying reptiles (pterosaurs) that were about 6 feet (1.8 m) long, had a 25-33 foot (7.8-10 m) wingspread, and weighed about 35 pounds; its standing height was about 6 feet (1.8 m). This wing-span is longer than any known bird. Pteranodons had hollow bones, were lightly built, had almost no tail, and small bodies; they may have had fur. They had large brains and good eyesight. Some pteranodons had long, light-weight, bony crests on their heads that may have acted as a rudder or stabilizer when flying, or may have been a sexual characteristic. They had no teeth.

Pteranodon wings were covered by a leathery membrane. This thin but tough membrane stretched between its body, the top of its legs and its elongated fourth fingers, forming the structure of the wing. Claws protruded from the other fingers.

CLASSIFICATION
Pteranodons were reptiles, but not dinosaurs. By definition, all dinosaurs were diapsid reptiles with an upright stance. Pterosaurs probably had a semi-upright stance. There is a small minority of paleontologists who think that the pterosaurs' stance could have been upright and that pterosaurs should therefore be included in the clade of dinosaurs (being derived theropods). Either way, dinosaurs and pterosaurs are certainly closely related.

Pteranodons belonged to the: WHEN PTERANODON LIVED
Pteranodons lived during the late Cretaceous period about 85-75 million years ago.

DIET
Although they had no teeth, Pteranodons were carnivores. They ate fish (which they caught at the surface of the oceans), mollusks, crabs, insects, and scavenged dead animals on land. They may have hunted like modern-day pelicans, scooping fish out of the water and swallowing them whole.

LOCOMOTION
Pteranodons could flap their wings and fly with power. They flew long distances using large, light-weight wings.

DISCOVERY OF FOSSILS
Many Pteranodon fossils have been found in the USA (in Kansas) and in England. Pteranodon was named by Othneil C. Marsh in 1876. The University of Kansas, in Lawrence, Kansas, USA has over 480 Pteranodon specimens. The first Pteranodon skull was found on May 2, 1876, in Smoky Hill River, Wallace County, Kansas, USA by S. W. Williston, a fossil collector working for Othniel Marsh.

PTERANODON ACTIVITIES AND PRINTOUTS
Pteranodon printout - information plus a Pteranodon to color.

Pteranodon Brief Fact Sheet - or a printable version.

PTERANODON AND OTHER PTEROSAUR LINKS
Pterosaurs, including pteranodon, from the UCMP, Berkeley.
Pterodactyl information sheet from Enchanted Learning.
Pterosaur information sheet from Enchanted Learning.
Quetzalcoatlus information sheet from Enchanted Learning.



Information Sheets About Dinosaurs
(and Other Prehistoric Creatures)

Just click on an animal's name to go to that information sheet. If the dinosaur you're interested in isn't here, check the Dinosaur Dictionary or the list of Dinosaur Genera. Names with an asterisk (*) were not dinosaurs.
How to write a great dinosaur report.

For dinosaur printouts, click here.

For brief dinosaur fact sheets, click here.




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