1. This is one of the oldest known pterosaurs.
Preondactylus buffarinii lived around 220 million years ago near an inland sea in what is now northern Italy. Like many early pterosaurs, Preondactylus buffarinii had relatively short wings with a span of just 18 inches, long legs and a very long tail.
2. This one was as big as a two-seater plane.
With a wingspan of at least 33 feet , Quetzalcoatlus northropi was larger than any other known flying animal. It lived around 70 million years ago on a plain in what is now western Texas.
3. This was one of the largest pterosaurs.
Dawndraco kanzai took to the skies toward the end of the era of flying reptiles, between 90 and 66 million years ago. This long-winged, short-tailed, toothless creature s soared over a seaway that covered the American Great Plains.
4. This one’s wings stretched all the way to its ankles.
This pterosaur lived about 155 million years ago near a lake in what is now southern Kazakhstan. Some fossils show that Sordes pilosus kept warm with a thick coat of fibers similar to fur.
5. This was the first flying reptile to be called a “pterodactyl”.
Pterodactylus antiquus lived 160–150 million years ago in an archipelago in what is now southern Germany. As well as its wins with a span of 5 feet, it had a flap of skin between its legs and tail and webbing between its toes. After many other specimens were found, the entire group was named Pterosauria, and its members pterosaurs.
6. This one had dagger-like teeth.
Rhamphorhynchus muensteri lived in the Late Jurassic (about 150 million years ago). It had a long tail, with a stiff flap of skin called a vane at the end that stabilised flight. Some scientists think this membrane faced sideways, like a fish tail, and helped prevent rocking from side to side. Others think it lay flat and helped the flying pterosaur control its elevation.
7. This one had a crest three times larger than its skull.
Thalassodromeus sethi had the largest crest of any known vertebrate. It’s wingspan was 14 feet and it lived around 110 million years ago near a lagoon in what is now Brazil.
8. And this pterosaur ancestor probably leapt around on its hind legs.
Pterosaurs evolved from an ancestor that may have resembled Scleromochlus taylori, a terrestrial reptile that lived around 230 million years ago. Based on some of the bones in its foot, scientists think it was an early relative of both pterosaurs and dinosaurs.
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