Pterosaur was a flying reptile which lived from the Late Triassic to the end of the Cretaceous period. The first pterosaur fossil was discovered in Germany in 1784 by Cosimo Collini, an Italian naturalist, who first thought it was a sea creature, perhaps because of its long tail and its large front limbs which he thought might have been paddles. Like modern birds, pterosaur bones were hollow and air-filled.

A wide variety of pterosaurs existed, including Rhamphorhynchus, and the largest flying creature of all time, the Quetzalcoatlus.

Current research shows that pterosaurs were capable of active flight, rather that simple gliding, as first thought. Their powerful wings were formed by membranes attached to the very long fourth finger of each arm, and extended along the sides of the body to the legs.


  • Estimated weight: from 23 kg. (44 pounds) to as much as 93 kg. (210 pounds)
  • Male wingspan: 6.25 meters (20.5 feet)
Pteranodon scale to human

Scale compared to human

To see an engraving of the original pterosaur fossil from 1784, click here

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