Reptiles in the air

the pterosaurs were the first ever flying vertebrates (animals with a backbone). Their wings were a thin membrane of muscles and elastic fibers covered with skin. The rhamphorhynchoid group of pterosaurs had long tails and short heads with sharp teeth. They first appeared in the Triassic period and became extinct at the end of the Jurassic period.

Rhamphorhynchus Rhamphorhynchus, a rhamphorhynchoid, had a special beak for trawling the water surface to catch fish while flying. The jaws were armed with large, forward-pointing spike teeth behind a toothless beak.

Large skull

Long tail typical of rhampho-rhynchoids

Stiff tail may have been used for steering when flying

Stiff tail may have been used for steering when flying

Long tail typical of rhampho-rhynchoids

Pointed t teeth

Fossil

This fossil skeleton of the rhamphorhynchoid Dimorphodon shows the fine bones and the skull which was very large compared to the body.

A thick coat of insulating "hair covered Sordes' body. But its hairs were not like the hairs of a mammal - they probably developed from reptile scales, like the feathers of a bird r

Large, deep snout with sharp teeth

Air reptile facts

• The pterosaurs included the largest ever flying animals.

• Their wings were made of muscles, elastic fibers, and skin.

• They were carnivores, eating fish, insects, and small reptiles.

• The last of the pterosaurs died out with the dinosaurs.

Large, deep snout with sharp teeth

The legs were powerful, Dimorphodon which suggests that they had a wingspan of were used for walking

Dimorphodon Like all pterosaurs,the wings of Dimorphodon were supported by an elongated fourth finger. The other three fingers on Dimorphodon's hands were large and clawed and may have been used for climbing rocks and cliffs.

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