• Pterodactyls are an extinct species of winged reptiles (pterosaurs) that lived during the Jurassic period (about 150 million years ago.)
  • Many pterodactyl fossils are preserved in Bavaria, Germany. During the Jurassic, the region was a swampy wetland at the edge of an ancient sea. Organisms that fell or washed into the wetland became buried in soft mud. This mud slowly hardened into limestone, turning the organisms' bodies into fossils.
  • "Pterodactyl" combines the Greek words for "wing" (ptero) and "finger" (dactyl). Pterodactyls flew using wings formed by a tough membrane stretching from their bodies to their elongated fourth finger. (The fourth fingers on this pterodactyl stretch past the animal's tailbone!)
  • A pterodactyl's wingspan was about 1 meter (3 feet).
  • Pterodactyls had long beaks filled with about 90 teeth. They used these teeth to prey on fish, the main source of food in their diet.
  • Pterodactyls were not dinosaurs! Dinosaurs are generally considered to walk upright, on either two legs (like T.Rex) or four legs (like stegosaurus). Pterodactyls often didn't walk at all (they flew), and when they did walk, they waddled on their back legs and pointed wings. Animals like pterodactyls are called pterosaurs.
  • Juvenile pterodactyls were called flaplings!
ancient
Adjective

very old.

Noun

foods eaten by a specific group of people or other organisms.

dinosaur
Noun

very large, extinct reptile chiefly from the Mesozoic Era, 251 million to 65 million years ago.

Noun

remnant, impression, or trace of an ancient organism.

limestone
Noun

type of sedimentary rock mostly made of calcium carbonate from shells and skeletons of marine organisms.

membrane
Noun

thin coating of material that certain substances, such as water, can pass through.

mud
Noun

wet soil.

prey
Noun

animal that is hunted and eaten by other animals.

pterosaur
Noun

extinct order of flying reptiles that flourished from 220 million-65 million years ago.

Noun

any area on Earth with one or more common characteristics. Regions are the basic units of geography.

reptile
Noun

animal that breathes air and usually has scales.

Noun

land permanently saturated with water and sometimes covered with it.

Noun

area of land covered by shallow water or saturated by water.