Jurassic Park - PTERANODON

PTERANODON (Illustration) American History Ancient Places and/or Civilizations Archeological Wonders Famous Historical Events Geography STEM Film

In this artist’s conception, by Nobumichi Tamura, we see a Cretaceous-era flying reptile known as a Pteranodon. Online via Wikimedia Commons; License: CC BY-SA 3.0.


Pteranodon - one of the great flying reptiles from the Cretaceous (not Jurassic) Period - was a member of the Pterodactyl family. The name "Pteranodon" means "Wing without Tooth." It also didn’t have much of a tail.

Distinguished by a large crown at the back of its head and a huge jaw at the front, the Pteranodon was NOT a dinosaur. It had an incredible wing span (scientists estimate between 23-30 feet), ate fish and lived near the sea shore. Paleontologists believe it had body fur similar to a bat’s.

When the first Pteranodon was discovered in America (they have been found in Kansas and Wyoming), it created quite a sensation. It was much larger than its European counterpart.

Although thousands of Pteranodon fossils exist, paleontologists have located only one nearly complete skeleton.

Since they could not walk well on land, these "air dragons" likely watched for prey high up in the trees. When they spotted what they wanted, they would swoop down to catch it. They could also have watched for prey on the surface of the water (as researchers learned when they found the tooth of a shark in a fossilized Pteranodon's spine).

During June of 1996, Mike and Pam Everhart found a fossilized young male Pteranodon in Kansas. Follow the links to learn about this important discovery and the meticulous process required to carefully retrieve and clean the Pteranodon’s skull.

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Author: Carole D. Bos, J.D. 5190stories and lessons created

Original Release: Jun 01, 2000

Updated Last Revision: Mar 20, 2019

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"PTERANODON" AwesomeStories.com. Jun 01, 2000. Jan 26, 2020.
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