Pterosaur Traits

Pterosaurs lived across a span of more than 150 million years. Their bodies changed over the course of time. The smallest ones were the size of sparrows and caught flying insects. Larger pterosaurs caught fish and small animals. The last pterosaurs to soar the skies were giants that may have been scavengers.

Head
Many pterosaurs impressed their mates with bony crests decorating their heads.

Thalassodromeus sethi

Skin
Pterosaurs did not have scales like other reptiles. They had smooth skin covered with fuzzy “threads” that were like early feathers.

Dorygnathus

Claws
A pterosaur hand had three fingers with sharp claws and a very long fourth finger attached to its wing. The back feet were often webbed and also had claws.

Lacusovagus magnificens

Wings
The wing membranes stretched from the pterosaurs’ hands to their back legs.

Tail
The first pterosaurs had long, straight tails with sails at the ends. Later pterosaurs have not been found with the same sorts of sails.

Mouth
Pterosaur souts came in many shapes. Some had small, sharp teeth and others had long, spiky teeth. Later pterosaurs had big beaks with no teeth at all!

Rhamphorhynchus

Pterosaurs lived for a long time, much longer than many other animals, including several kinds of dinosaurs. The first pterosaurs appears during the Late Triassic period. As time passed and Earth changed, pterosaurs also changed. Pterosaurs were able to survive for millions of years—but like their cousins the non-bird dinosaurs, they dies out at the end of the Cretaceous period, 66 million years ago.