This extinct flying reptile was a pterosaur, descendant of the
pterodactyl. The genus Pteranodon includes some species of large
pterosaurs from the Cretaceous period in North America. Its name Pteranodon
means "wing without tooth".
Pteranodon was a carnivore, but it had no teeth. It ate fish, crabs,
mollusks, insects and it was also scavenger. It may have
hunted like modern pelican, coughing fish at the surface of the ocean and
swallowing them whole. Pteranodon was capable of flying long distances, it
probably depended on air currents. It was almost a soaring animal. It may
also have been capable of bipedal terrestrial movement. This huge winged creature had large, light-weight wings; it probably
had a semi-upright stance. Its wingspan was huge, longer than any known bird. The wings were covered by a leathery membrane
that stretched between its body, the top of its legs and its elongated
fourth fingers. From the other fingers protruded claws. Some Pteranodons
had a large, long crest at the back of the head that may have been used as a
rudder when flying or may have had a sexual characteristic. Pteranodon had
no teeth, it had long toothless jaws. It had good eyesight.
Many fossils have been found in the USA (Kansas) and in England. The first skull of Pteranodon was found in 1876 in Kansas.
- Late Cretaceous
- 76-73 MYA
RANGE - Europe
& North America
- 23 foot wingspan (7 meters)