Advertisement.

EnchantedLearning.com is a user-supported site.
As a bonus, site members have access to a banner-ad-free version of the site, with print-friendly pages.
Click here to learn more.

ad
(Already a member? Click here.)

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.

PTEROSAURS
"Winged lizards"


ANATOMY
PteranodonPterosaurs were an order of flying reptiles that lived during the time of the dinosaurs. The pterosaurs ranged in size from a few inches to over 40 feet. They had hollow bones, were lightly built, and had small bodies. They had large brains and good eyesight. Some pterosaurs had fur on their bodies, and some (like Pteranodon) had light-weight, bony crests on their heads that may have acted as a rudder when flying, or may have been a sexual characteristic.

Pterosaur 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.

QuetzalcoatlusPterosaurs could flap their wings and fly with power, but the largest ones (like Quetzalcoatlus, which had a wingspan up to 36 feet or 11 m wide) probably relied on updrafts (rising warm air) and breezes to help in flying.

WHEN PTEROSAURS LIVED
Pterosaurs lived during the Mesozoic Era, the Age of Reptiles. The primitive types of pterosaurs (rhamphorhynchoids) appeared during the Triassic, and died out at the end of the Jurassic period. More advanced pterosaurs (pterodactyloids) appeared late in the Jurassic period and died out during the Cretaceous, about 65 million years ago, during the K-T extinction (65 mya).

DIET
Pterosaurs were carnivores; they ate fish (which they caught at the surface of the oceans), mollusks, crabs, perhaps plankton (for some species), insects, and scavenged dead animals on land.

LOCOMOTION
Pterodactyl Pterosaurs flew long distances using large, light-weight wings.

CLASSIFICATION
Pterosaurs 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.

Pterosaurs were:

DISCOVERY OF FOSSILS
Pterosaur fossils have been found in North America, Europe, Africa, and Australia. The first pterosaur (flying reptile) was found in 1784 in Solnhofen limestone (in Bavaria, Germany) by an Italian naturalist named Cosmo Alessandro Collini. It was first thought to be a marine animal - it was later determined to be a flying reptile and was named "pterodactyle" (by Georges Cuvier in 1809).

PTEROSAUR LINKS
A first-grade level Pterosaur addition activity print-out.
Pterodactyl information sheet from Enchanted Learning.
Pterosaurs from the UCMP, Berkeley.
Quetzalcoatlus information sheet from Enchanted Learning.
Pteranodon information sheet from Enchanted Learning.
Quetzalcoatlus, the giant pterosaur, at the Royal Tyrrell Museum, Canada. The Aerodynamics of Pterosaurs from UC Davis.





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.




Enchanted Learning®
Over 35,000 Web Pages
Sample Pages for Prospective Subscribers, or click below

Overview of Site
What's New
Enchanted Learning Home
Monthly Activity Calendar
Books to Print
Site Index

K-3
Crafts
K-3 Themes
Little Explorers
Picture dictionary
PreK/K Activities
Rebus Rhymes
Stories
Writing
Cloze Activities
Essay Topics
Newspaper
Writing Activities
Parts of Speech

Fiction
The Test of Time
iPhone app
TapQuiz Maps - free iPhone Geography Game

Biology
Animal Printouts
Biology Label Printouts
Biomes
Birds
Butterflies
Dinosaurs
Food Chain
Human Anatomy
Mammals
Plants
Rainforests
Sharks
Whales
Physical Sciences: K-12
Astronomy
The Earth
Geology
Hurricanes
Landforms
Oceans
Tsunami
Volcano
Languages
Dutch
French
German
Italian
Japanese (Romaji)
Portuguese
Spanish
Swedish
Geography/History
Explorers
Flags
Geography
Inventors
US History

Other Topics
Art and Artists
Calendars
College Finder
Crafts
Graphic Organizers
Label Me! Printouts
Math
Music
Word Wheels

Click to read our Privacy Policy

E-mail


Enchanted Learning Search

Search the Enchanted Learning website for:



Advertisement.



Advertisement.



Advertisement.





Copyright ©1997 EnchantedLearning.com ------ How to cite a web page