Palaeobiology

Pterosaurs - flying reptiles of the prehistoric skies

Pterosaur

Pterosaurs were the prehistoric flying reptiles of the Mesozoic Era. A surge of interest has occurred in the study of these creatures and spectacular new discoveries, combined with the application of computer modelling, aerodynamic studies and ultra-violet and x-ray investigation, have shed new light on pterosaur palaeobiology.

They lived from the Triassic period, the oldest examples date back approximately 220 million years, and they died out at the end of the Cretaceous period, along with the big dinosaurs, 65 million years ago. Thus they were around for 155 million years and spread worldwide.

Pterosaurs were the first actively flying vertebrates and evolved many different forms. At least two groups of pterosaurs became toothless, and others while several forms reached gigantic proportions with wingspans of over nine metres. Many sported elaborate head crests like the famous Pteranodon from the Late Cretaceous of North America.

Read more about pterosaurs