Monday, February 17, 2014


Pteranodon longiceps
There have been dozens of different Pterosaurs discovered, and today's animal is one of the best well known. In fact, it is the "type species" for the genus. This means that when you hear the term "Pteranodon," it refers to not just the genus that contains several difficult species, but also to a single specific species -- Pteranodon longiceps.

This large flying Reptile (Pterasaurs are not Dinosaurs) lived between 85 and 75 million years ago, and its fossils have been found in both Europe and North America. It was first discovered in Kansas back in 1876 by Othniel Charles Marsh, and many hundreds of fossils have since been found at and around that Kansas site.

Pteranodon had a massive wingspan-- most fossils show a spread of 20ft or more! Like modern birds, Pteranodon had hollow bones that made them light enough to fly. Interestingly, Pteranodon may have had fur!

Pteranodons were Carnivores, even though their beak mouths were missing teeth. Of course, the lack of teeth doesn't stop modern birds, so why would a 75 million year old Reptile be any different? Pteranodons captured sea creatures that swam near the surface of the water, and may have swallowed them whole.

Status : Extinct, lived 85-75 million years ago
Location : Europe, North America
Size : Wingspan up to 20ft (6m)
Classification : Phylum : Chordata -- Order : †Pterosauria -- Family : †Pteranodontidae
Genus : †Pteranodon -- Species :  P. longiceps
Image : Heinrich Harder, Andre Engels


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