Dimorphodon

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Dimensions

Skull length: 22cm (8.7″)
Wingspan: 1.2 m (3.9 ft)
Adult length: 1m

Key Facts

  • Earliest known pterosaur with a complete fossil.
  • Mary Anning made the first Dimorphodon (Dimorphodon macronyx) discovery, at Lyme Regis in Dorset, UK in 1828.
  • It is believed to have been an insect eater that lived in forests or on cliffs.
  • The ability to fly meant it could catch flying insects that other animals could not.
  • As it was a small animal, it would have spent much of its time high up in trees away from land based predators.

Darwinopterus

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Dimensions

Skull length: about 14–19 cm (7.4″)
Wingspan: 0.7-1.0 m (3.2ft).

Key Facts

  • The missing link between the small ancient pterosaurs and the gigantic modern ones that could walk
  • Flight aided by a long stiff tail and a membrane between its legs to increase surface area
  • An aerial predator
  • Its head was incredibly advanced which may have meant it could eat larger prey than insects
  • Despite its head being modern, its body was still primitive; Scientists believe this may be evidence that some parts of the body evolve faster than others

Tapejara

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Dimensions

Skull length: about 44cm (1.4ft)
Skull height: 86.6 cm (2.8ft)
Wingspan: 3-4m (13ft).

Key Facts

  • Able to sail and fly across water in search of prey
  • The Tapejara could manipulate its body to match the same configuration as the world’s fastest modern windsurfs
  • Its enormous head crest is thought to have been striped with bold patterns and could have been used for mating similar to a peacock
  • A quick take off enabled it to avoid the toothy underwater predators of its time

Quetzalcoatlus

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Dimensions

Wingspan: 10-12m (33-40ft)
Weight: 250kg (39.36 stone)
Beak: 2.5m (8.2ft) long
Height: Standing it would have been eye-to-eye with a giraffe.

Key Facts

  • The biggest animal to have ever flown
  • Could launch itself to a speed of 35 mph with a single powerful press up
  • In the air this animal travelled at speeds of up to 80mph (128kph)
  • Using its enormous muscles, once airborne, it could glide for hundreds of miles without a single flap
  • Scientists think it would regularly have covered 400 miles (643 km) a day
  • Its enormous toothless beak allowed it to eat small animals whole