Information About Pterodactylus kochi
|Pterodactylus kochi dinosaur fossil|
Pterodactylus had a 2.5 to 3.1 foot (0.75 - 1 m) wide wingspan. It was lightly built, with hollow bones, a long, curved neck, a long skull (with no crest), a long, pointed beak, many small teeth, a small body, and a very short tail. It had a relatively large brain and good eyesight. The skull was about 2.4 inches (6 cm) long.
Pterodactyloid 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. Pterodactylus could flap its wings and fly with power.
WHEN PTERODACTYLUS LIVED
Pterodactyloids lived during the late Jurassic dinosaur period. The birds also evolved during the Jurassic dinosaur period and were probably competition for the pterodactyloids.
Pterodactylus was a carnivore (a flesh-eater); fish may have been a mainstay in its diet. Its long, pointed beak and many small teeth helped it catch its prey.
Pterodactylus flew long distances using its lightweight wings.
DISCOVERY OF FOSSILS
Pterodactylus fossils have been found in France, England, Germany, and Tanzania (Africa). 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).
Pterodactyloids 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.
Kingdom: Animalia (animals)
Subphylum: Vertebrata (vertebrates)
Superclass: Tetrapoda (four-legged animals)
Class: Reptilia (reptiles) or
Subclass: Diapsida - these include all the reptiles (except turtles) and birds. They are distinguished by having two holes in the rear upper part of their skulls and two holes behind the eyes.
Archosauria - this group includes dinosaurs, crocodilians, pterosaurs, birds, etc.
Order: Pterosauria - flying reptiles. (There are two type of pterosaurs.)
Suborder: Pterodactyloids ("wing finger") - their descendants that appeared late
in the Jurassic and died in the K-T extinction, 65 million years ago, that had
shorter tails. Examples include Pterodactylus, Dsungaripterus, Pteranodon, and
Pterodactylus antiquus (Upper Jurassic, Germany)
Pterodactylus kochi (Upper Jurassic, Germany)
Pterodactylus micronyx (Upper Jurassic, Germany)
Pterodactylus elegans (Upper Jurassic, Germany)
Pterodactylus longicollum (Upper Jurassic, Germany)
Pterodactylus grandis (Upper Jurassic, Germany)
Pterodactylus grandipelvis (Upper Jurassic, Germany)
Pterodactylus cerinensis (Upper Jurassic, France)
Pterodactylus suprajurensis (Upper Jurassic, France)
Pterodactylus manseli (Upper Jurassic, England)
Pterodactylus pleydelli (Upper Jurassic, England)
Pterodactylus arningi (Upper Jurassic, Tanzania)
Pterodactylus maximus (Upper Jurassic, Tanzania)
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