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Flight vs. gliding[edit]

hi i was doing homework and this was very useful —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:00, 11 March 2008 (UTC)

I would very much like to see some argumentation on the flight vs. gliding issue. What are the reasons for believing one or the other? SpectrumDT 01:26, 6 November 2005 (UTC)

Most research suggests that pterosaurs employed soaring flight with occasional powered flapping, much like modern seabirds. The authors of Hazlehhurst and Rayner 1992 calculated pterosaurs wing loading, glide angle, and stall speed, finding these to be almost identical to an albatross. Most newer research by people like Jim Cunningham and David Unwin suggests that even the largest pterosaurs could achieve powered flight equievelnt to or better than that of many birds. I see there's not much on this issue in the article, but I think I'll wait and see if anyone with better familiarity with the relevent sources comes along before I try to write up a lame summary. Dinoguy2 00:38, 9 December 2005 (UTC)
Well there's still nothing about their ability to fly in this article. Can you add something about it? Their ability to fly is one of their most important characteristics, not to mention defining. There should be more information on this. (talk) 15:31, 4 March 2008 (UTC)
Wow, ancient post! I don't even remember where I found those sources, maybe in Unwin's The Pterosaurs which I don't have here at the moment. Can anybody pitch in? I agree a flight section would be pretty important... Dinoguy2 (talk) 21:02, 11 March 2008 (UTC)

The Simon and Schuster book I've got says "Eudimorphodon was evidently an active flier, capable of flapping its wings like a modern bird." It later says on Scaphognathus "small pterosaurs made active flaping movements like small modern birds." It also says that "Quetzalcoatlus was probably an accomplished glider" A Golancz book of mine claims "Because if its immense size, Quetzalcoatlus probably relied on gliding rather than wing-flapping flight." It says something similar with Pteranodon. From this it seams that large Pterosaurs were gliders while small ones were perfectly capable of powered flight. (talk) 11:46, 30 June 2008 (UTC)

No, this is not the case. Nobody supports the position that any pterosaurs were pure gliders these days. I will source this at some point. — John.Conway (talk) 11:50, 22 September 2008 (UTC)

So what?[edit]

The article says, "The pterosaurs' flocculi occupied 7.5 per cent of the animals' total brain mass, more than in any other vertebrate." So? What does it mean? More agile in flight? Less stable? More stewardi? Be clear. Not all readers are pterosaur (or bird) experts... Trekphiler 15:14, 16 December 2005 (UTC)

Common Name[edit]

(Copying this here from pterodactyl since I'm not sure how many people watch that page). According to Wikipedia:WikiProject Tree of Life, In cases where there is a formal common name (e.g. birds), or when common names are well-known and reasonably unique, they should be used for article titles. Scientific names should be used otherwise. Under this guideline, Pterodactyl should probably be the title for the article currently titled Pterosauria. However, I know "pterodactyl" can variously refer any pterosaur, any pterodactyloid, or Pterodactylus itself. So... what say you?Dinoguy2 19:43, 9 January 2006 (UTC)

Talking to people genarllay about what I do, and what I specialise in, most people don't know what either means. Of those that do, they are split about 50/50 on pterodactyl/pterosaur. Also, as you note "pterodactyl" is quite ambiguous. - John.Conway 00:51, 31 January 2006 (UTC)
At the moment Pterodactyl is a useless collection of pop culture trivia. How about at least making it a redirect?Dinoguy2 01:19, 31 January 2006 (UTC)
I agree, I'd like to see the main redirect go here (where the phrase has it's original meaning). - Kevingarcia 06:53, 28 February 2006 (UTC)
Side-question, why not link pterodactyl directly to Pterodactylus? I understand that the former is used more often in pop culture, but isn't it just a shortened nickname for the latter? Like the common usage of "Raptor" instead of Velociraptor but also used to discribe all Dromaesauridae.-Kevingarcia 07:08, 28 February 2006 (UTC)

Yeah, isn't "Pterodactyl" reserved for Pterodactylus?

This string appears to be reviving - I would opt for a proper merge, so that the bit of useful stuff in Pterodactyl is not lost, then making Pterodactyl a 'redirect' to Pterodactylus (or vice versa), with a disambiguation page, to tease out some of the other stuff. - Ballista 05:08, 30 June 2006 (UTC)


"Rhamphorhynchoidae" is a paraphyletic group in every current Pterosaur phylogeny, and thus should have quotes around it's name. This is nitpicking, I know, but it shows that it is not a natural clad, and just a grouping made by people, not nature.

Noting that it's paraphyletic in the text would be better, since quotation marks usually mean a clade is unofficial or unpublished, and we don't want to create confusion.Dinoguy2 20:13, 11 February 2006 (UTC)

I think that perhaps we should abandon it. It doesn't neaten things up much. We can leave the rhamphorhychoid families suborderless. John.Conway 10:22, 23 February 2006 (UTC)

Ground movement[edit]

It is interesting to see that some of the species shows adaptations to move around onm the ground. Who knows, maybe there even were some species living on isolated islands that had lost the power to fly completely? If quadruped (or bipedal) species with no wings had evolved, shrunk down to the size of rodents (Pterosaur seems to have been warm blooded and covered with fur) and then survived what killed the dinosaurs, who knows what the terrestrial vertebrate fauna would have looked today?

All pterosaur species would have had some method of getting around on the grond, I hope... they had to land sometime! (If only rodent-sized pteros had survived I doubt todays fauna would be much different though, aside from the added presence of tiny ground-dwelling furry reptiles, and maybe some mammals specialized for eating them.)Dinoguy2 14:02, 27 February 2006 (UTC)
Well, from what I have heard, not all bats are able to take off from the ground, they have to start somewhere higher up. But of course some pterosaurs would have been able to move on the ground. What I meant was moving without difficulties, like vampire bats or birds. It would really be exiting if someone had found a fossile of a species with useless wings and strong legs and arms. If a small ground-dwelling pterosaur had survived, there is no reason why it shouldn't grow later. When the dinosaurs went exctint about 65 million years ago, all the mammals left varied in size from small shrews and no bigger than a cat. At least that's what I have heard. Most of them had probably rodent size. In a world without dinosaurs and only small vertebrates around, much could have happened in 65 million years. Just too bad we well never know.

Just a comment: "rodent sized". What about the capybara? Dora Nichov 12:08, 23 January 2007 (UTC)

I don't think that many people have heard of the capybara, and it is by far the largest rodent. It also does not look very rodent-ish so it wouldn't come to mind when people think of rodents. (talk) 07:47, 4 June 2008 (UTC)


The National Geographic Channel special "Sky Monsters" continually refers to the large wing-supporting digit as a "megafinger." Is this a common paleontological term, or a catchy phrase used by the producers? If it is a common term, it should be included in this article (and perhaps given its own entry, since it is such an important aspect of pterosaur flight). - Kevingarcia 06:53, 28 February 2006 (UTC)

That show was the first time I'd heard it. I doubt it'll gain the same respect as thagomizer unless Unwin, Padian, Cunningham or Conway start using it themselves ("wing finger" is much more common, and is probably better since it's a direct translation of "pterodactyl").Dinoguy2 13:37, 28 February 2006 (UTC)
Documentary licence. I've never heard a pterosaur worker use it. John.Conway 15:56, 2 May 2006 (UTC)

Proposed merge[edit]

I disagree with the proposed merge of List of pterosaur classifications into Pterosaur. The list is just that, a list of already lengthy classification scemes, that would take up an enormous amount of room in the main article with little good reason. Pterosaur classification is already well summarized in the main article.Dinoguy2 18:44, 19 May 2006 (UTC)

Do you think maybe the other article should be deleted? The article was just created today, and I added the tag during a recent changes patrol.--DCAnderson 18:57, 19 May 2006 (UTC)

Well, I only created that article to clean up the List of pterosaurs proper in a manner similar to List of dinosaurs, having in mind to not get rid of the info that was already there. Since for dinosaurs there is a List of dinosaur classifications I thought not much of it. However I'll be sure to gather the necessary info on the subject and fill in the article with a few paragraphs pertaining to it. I won't be too distraught if the list of pterosaur classifications gets deleted, either ;-) And I disagree with the merge. Dracontes 14:22, 22 May 2006 (UTC)

I disagree the merge. I fear putting so much classification stuff in the general article would unbalance it. It is, however, important information for those with that specialist interest or need. It is an easy subject area to have separate. Please don't delete. Ballista 02:46, 25 May 2006 (UTC)
Obviously there should neither be a merge nor a deletion. And thank you Dracontes for the list. It is very useful :o).--MWAK 08:57, 31 May 2006 (UTC)

Reptiles versus Dinosaurs[edit]

I'd say that many people would mistakenly consider pterosaurs to be a type of flying dinosaur rather than a winged reptile (and I'm talking about folk belief rather than scientific opinion here and also acknowledging that many non-scientists also consider all dinosaurs to be reptiles to begin with). Maybe the article could at some point mention the reasons why they are considered reptiles rather than dinosaurs and the differences between the two groups to clarify this? Reynardthefox 07:28, 10 September 2006 (UTC)

I am not sure of the amount of study done on pterosaurs, but have never heard they arnt reptiles, just like Mesosaurs and pleiosaurs. They still could be reptiles like bats are mammals, but this is confusing. We need some information before we include it to see its worth. Enlil Ninlil 07:56, 10 September 2006 (UTC)
Pterosaurs and dinosaurs are both considered reptiles by the vast majority of scientists working in this area The reason pterosaurs aren't thought to be dinosaurs is that they are thought to fall outside the dinosaur clade, not because of any particular anatomical characteristics. The characteristics that lead to this conclusion are generally small, changeable, uninteresting for the non-specialist, and certainly don't define either group.
Perhaps there could be more on pterosaur origins, and why that means they are not dinosaurs... but pterosaur origins are notoriously hazy. John.Conway 23:36, 10 September 2006 (UTC)

They are reptiles, but they aren't dinosaurs. Dora Nichov 09:46, 17 December 2006 (UTC)


I hate to say it, but using Peters as a source to make significant changes to this article is like using Feduccia as a major source on Sinosauropteryx. I don't mind his fairly radical ideas being mentioned, but they are not accepted, as far as I know, by really any other researchers in this field. It doesn't help that a majority of his discoveries are made using Photoshop and images he downloaded from the internet.Dinoguy2 01:22, 20 October 2006 (UTC)

I agree, his ideas are not the conventional mainstream scientific view . John.Conway 22:16, 22 October 2006 (UTC)

Sea going colony-rock strata[edit]

And what is the Named-strata, about 2-4 ft thick in the S. American Andes, that is the fossil layer of sea-going pterosaurs, in their nesting colony? (Obviously over some length of time)... (from out in the SonoranDesert ofArizona) ..-Mmcannis 07:09, 7 January 2007 (UTC)

Pop culture article redirected here[edit]

I'm not going to complain about the loss of that abomination of an article... but, it was the "net" underneath this article for catching all the irrelevent pop culture edits. With it gone and directed here, I think we need to establish a pretty strict relevence policy about what kind of pop culture references are let through. In fact, I think the way it's phrased now pretty much covers everything we need, and any inevitable additions of such-and-such pterosaur in Transformers or Jurassic Park or whatever should be reverted on sight. If not, the pop culture article needs to be brought back as a wastebin for that stuff. Dinoguy2 13:19, 15 April 2007 (UTC)

Modern sighting of the hoax[edit]

I remember reading the "living pterodactyl" hoax reported as fact in the Milwaukee Journal, in 1977 or 1978. It appeared in the Green Sheet, a 4-page section of the paper, printed on green paper, which contained the comics and "weird news" stories. Metageek 20:25, 24 April 2007 (UTC)

I attempted to search the Milwaukee Journal's archives ([1]); but, at present, they go back only to 1990. They also don't contain any wire service articles, so the hoax might not be listed even if/when the archives go back to 1977. Metageek 14:15, 25 April 2007 (UTC)

This picture is a hoax I am assuming... —Preceding unsigned comment added by Labenset (talkcontribs) 17:42, 23 October 2008 (UTC)

Not technically--that photo was made for an X-Files type TV show called FreakyLinks. [2] Dinoguy2 (talk) 23:18, 23 October 2008 (UTC)

Nub thing[edit]

What is that thing on the backs of their heads exactly?

Usually a bony crest, but some had nonbony extensions. J. Spencer 15:18, 17 June 2007 (UTC)

11-09-2001 Pterosaur seen nearby the W.T.C[edit]

Sources: —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:28, 2 September 2007 (UTC)

I hope that site is intnded as some kind of twisted joke... you don't have to be from the NYC area to know that's what the city folk call a "pigeon"... Dinoguy2 01:27, 3 September 2007 (UTC)

The term "dinosaur" is properly restricted to a certain group of terrestrial reptiles?[edit]

Quoted from the top of the article. (The question mark being added by myself.) I thought it was generally accepted that dinosaurs were not reptiles at all. (Isn't the current accepted belief that they were related to birds? I admit I am no paleontologist.) Why does this article still promote the antiquated notion that they are reptiles? 06:24, 22 September 2007 (UTC)

No, they're still reptiles. In fact, in Phylogenetic nomenclature, so are birds. Dinoguy2 08:19, 22 September 2007 (UTC)

section cut from origins[edit]

I cut out a section of rewritten text and reintroduced older but still flawed material. The reason I did so was because pterosaur origins and evolution of flight need a detailed analysis (heck, probably an article) that wasn't being served by suddenly turning one-sided, with included details of unspecified importance. Yes, I know who added the material, and no, I don't particularly care, except that the article suddenly sounded as if everything was settled; I'd be happy to have it included in a longer, more nuanced discussion of thought on pterosaurs, instead of seeming to be the only position. Anyway, enough sermon. Here's the cut material for future reference:

A paper written in 2000 [1] provided four pterosaur-sized taxa with a similar ankle structure that had long fingers and thin, bony tails, among other characteristics, including that remarkable folding lateral toe that early pterosaurs have.
They were once thought to have evolved flight from some manner other than the 'tree-down' route possibly taken by birds, because pterosaurs demonstrated no adaptations useful for tree living. But the gliders Sharovipteryx and Longisquama settled that problem. Most scenarios have pterosaurs evolving from long-legged, ground-running ancestors like Scleromochlus (a less likely scenario) or Sharovipteryx. Only the latter had webs of skin from long hind legs to their bodies or tails. Since the exotic show-off Longisquama had such ornate decorations and is the closest known relative of pterosaurs, we can presume that pterosaur wings were extra-added attractions that could be flapped for added excitement during elaborate mating rituals.[2]
  1. ^ Peters, D. (2000) A reexamination of four prolacertiforms with implications for pterosaur phylogenesis. Rivista Italiana di Paleontologia e Stratigrafia 106, 293-336.
  2. ^ "Peters, D. A New Model for the Evolution of the Pterosaur Wing – with a twist.". Historical Biology 15: 277-301

J. Spencer 22:11, 4 November 2007 (UTC)

One of the problems I see immediately is someone citing his or her own work. This always sets alarm bells off in my head. I don't yet see a problem with most of the above passage, except for "They were once thought to have evolved flight from some manner other than the 'tree-down' route possibly taken by birds, because pterosaurs demonstrated no adaptations useful for tree living. But the gliders Sharovipteryx and Longisquama settled that problem." (Settled that problem seems POV) and "we can presume that pterosaur wings were extra-added attractions that could be flapped for added excitement during elaborate mating rituals." (even with a reference, that's POV). Perhaps DP will come here and discuss these additions to the article. I think it would be great to have a variety of theories presented in the section. Firsfron of Ronchester 01:05, 5 November 2007 (UTC)
I agree. While I don't mind DP's theories being cited, he is basically a minority of one on most issues of classification (and basic anatomy, and reproduction...), and we need to consider giving proportionate weight to these ideas. Dinoguy2 01:36, 5 November 2007 (UTC)
Note this exciting new discovery. I've briefly mentioned it in the text but someone who knows something about vertebrates may want to have a scan and put pertinent points into the article. I can provide a copy of the full text to anyone interested - just e-mail me. Verisimilus T 14:18, 10 March 2008 (UTC)

The largest flying animals to have ever existed?[edit]

I'm pretty sure these animals are the largest flying animals to have ever existed. Shouldn't we add this to the article? (talk) 15:29, 4 March 2008 (UTC)

Added a mention to the intro. Dinoguy2 (talk) 21:14, 5 March 2008 (UTC)

couldn't fly?[edit] - Peregrine Fisher (talk) (contribs) 18:24, 2 October 2008 (UTC)

The flight of pterosaurs is problematic, and perhaps more ought to be made of that in the article. In the nineteenth century it was proposed that they were not airborne at all. While this is clearly nonsense, the aerodynamics is a mystery to most scientists.--Gazzster (talk) 21:37, 2 October 2008 (UTC)
And what does this fellow propose they were using their wings for? Advertising space? Reminds me of the researcher who thinks "all" dinosaurs were incapable of supporting their weight on land. J. Spencer (talk) 22:31, 2 October 2008 (UTC)
I think he probably means they weren't capable of powered flight, which isn't a new idea. Perhaps this particular scientist doesn't merit citation. But the broader problem of the aerodynamics could be dealt with better.--Gazzster (talk) 22:50, 2 October 2008 (UTC)
Actually, he says no soaring for anything greater than 40 kg (88 lb), so it's not just powered flight this time. J. Spencer (talk) 23:18, 2 October 2008 (UTC)

I'm not a big dinosaur guy, but I was dissapointed when this article didn't discuss how something that obviously could not fly today had giant wings. I'll start a section for it. - Peregrine Fisher (talk) (contribs) 23:55, 2 October 2008 (UTC)

Good on you. Yes, that's what I mean. A huge pterosaur, by appearances, 'obviously' cannot fly. I remember the older literature, which, alas, I rememberm, state that a large, long membrane is hard, almost impossible to flap, and prone to wind gusts and tearing. And on the face of it, there's something to that! Interesting how old theories tend to resurface (scavenger T-rex, acquatic brontosaur, etc) The first reactions to the published dimensions of Quetzalcoatlus were of incredulity. But the mere fact that large pterosaurs had wings demonstrates that they did. A problems that needs exploring!--Gazzster (talk) 02:25, 3 October 2008 (UTC)
It's pretty intersting. I wish I knew more; maybe I'll do some more research and add it. I did a google books search for "ptersosaur oxygen" because I read somewhere that extra oxygen is why there used to be those giant dragonflies that can't exist anymore. One of the refs I added discusses it, but I don't really understand all endowhatsit info about how muscles process oxygen. The ref was mostly talking about theories as well. There's probably a newer one that is more certain, but I don't know what search term besides "ptersosaur oxygen" to use. Any suggestions? - Peregrine Fisher (talk) (contribs) 02:58, 3 October 2008 (UTC)
So, Pterosaur wasn't a flier, but a glider. GoodDay (talk) 14:46, 4 October 2008 (UTC)
If you believe the article, large pterosaurs shouldn't have been able to even get up in the air, period. J. Spencer (talk) 14:56, 4 October 2008 (UTC)
That would only be true if the power to achieve take-off would be largely provided by flapping. This is however not the case for birds and very likely was not for pterosaurs either.--MWAK (talk) 16:17, 17 April 2009 (UTC)

What the hell is all this? There is no reason to think any pterosaurs had difficulty flapping their wings, let alone flying. Please don't go and cite press reports, they're worse than useless. John.Conway (talk) 15:30, 15 April 2009 (UTC)

Here's the link to the paper: Sato presumes that the power-weight ratio would be the same for an upscaled albatross and an azdharchid.--MWAK (talk) 16:17, 17 April 2009 (UTC)
Perhaps the formidable adaptive obstacles to very large size are the reason that the largest pterosaurs only seem to appear in the late Cretaceous; it took a long time to get the body plan together. Pterosaur-specific behaviour such as the knuckle-launching techniques described by Habib (mentioned here: might also have helped. But it's hilarious to suggest that the largest pterosaurs couldn't fly; it's like suggesting that pliosaurs couldn't swim or tyrannosaurs couldn't stand up!Orbitalforam (talk) 17:44, 26 February 2010 (UTC)

Hoax and French connection[edit]

I have removed the reference that seems to insinuate that some "French" may be implied in the forging of the hoax. No reference whatsoever are provided to support this. It could as well be a local (meaning English) invention located in a place remote enough to be hard to cross-check (for the time) and advanced enough to make such deep digging believable.

Furthermore I have never heard of such a hoax before, in the country where all is supposed to have happened.— Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs) 31 October 2008

I don't have the slightest idea about what either of you are talking about. This page is for discussion about improvements to the Pterosaur article. -- (talk) 01:05, 31 January 2013 (UTC)

You are replying to a very old post, which refers to a section in the article at the time about an article in the Illustrated London News in 1856. That section has since been removed from the article.-gadfium 01:47, 31 January 2013 (UTC)

Image copyright problem with File:Csterrorsaur3.jpg[edit]

The image File:Csterrorsaur3.jpg is used in this article under a claim of fair use, but it does not have an adequate explanation for why it meets the requirements for such images when used here. In particular, for each page the image is used on, it must have an explanation linking to that page which explains why it needs to be used on that page. Please check

  • That there is a non-free use rationale on the image's description page for the use in this article.
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This is an automated notice by FairuseBot. For assistance on the image use policy, see Wikipedia:Media copyright questions. --19:32, 3 January 2009 (UTC)

Flight references[edit]

The flight section appears to be almost completely unsourced. Can anybody figure out what papers this info might have come from? If not it should be deleted and re-written using known published sources. (also the accompanying images would be better suited to a respiration/air sacs section under paleobiology which I've been putting off writing for a few weeks ;) ). Dinoguy2 (talk) 00:14, 3 March 2009 (UTC)

  • I was surprised that it was almost completely unsourced too, apart from a blog post. I put a new PLOS source in there though. FunkMonk (talk) 00:19, 3 March 2009 (UTC)
It seems to be largely derived from Unwin (2005), but his pteroid theory was, perhaps decisively :o), refuted by Bennett.--MWAK (talk) 08:36, 7 March 2009 (UTC)


Can their call (vocal sounds) be mentioned in this article? Popular culture (including films) often have pterosaurs making loud, unpleasant-sounding calls. Badagnani (talk) 05:06, 22 May 2009 (UTC)

No studies on pterosaur vocalisation have been done as far as I know, so no. Dinoguy2 (talk) 16:24, 22 May 2009 (UTC)


Did they (or some) migrate? Dysmorodrepanis (talk) 00:00, 17 August 2009 (UTC)

I don't know that there's any evidence for this. Some genera have a wide geographic range, like Ornithocheirus, but such taxa are in bad need of re-evaluation, so the distribution may represent different species or populations, rather than a single migratory population. Dinoguy2 (talk) 19:56, 17 August 2009 (UTC)

years ago[edit]

It is confusing to say they existed from 220 to 65.5 million years ago as it sounds like they existed from 220BC to 65,500,000,000BC years ago. EH? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:27, 21 August 2009 (UTC)


I added Rodan to the "In popular culture" section. In the movie Rodan! The Flying Monster!, the scientists note that the monster seems to be a pteranodon, overgrown, of course, due to radiation from nuclear weapons testing. The Japanese name is actually Radon, which is a contraction of pteranodon. In the English release, the name was changed from Radon to Rodan. I think Rodan is likely to be the most prominent reference to any pterosaur in popular culture (even if it makes paleontologists groan).  ;o) (talk) 02:51, 7 December 2009 (UTC)

Shouldn't there be a section under Paleobiology for Eating habits?[edit]

No mention at all is made as to what Ptersaurs would eat. Will (Talk - contribs) 10:30, 15 December 2009 (UTC)

I suppose, but different pterosaurs ate different things. One of these days I'll see if I can pull something together from the hundreds of different pterosaurs and try to cover all the bases :) I don't think it'll boil down to much besides meat, plants, fish, insects, fruit, etc. Dinoguy2 (talk) 18:02, 15 December 2009 (UTC)

in popular culture[edit]

The in popular culture section has a portion that reads as follows

"However, paleontologist Dave Hone has noted that even after the 40 intervening years, the pterosaurs in this film had not been significantly updated to reflect modern research. Among the errors he noted as persisting from the 1960s to the 2000s were teeth even in toothless species (the Jurassic Park III pterosaurs were intended to be Pteranodon, which translates as "toothless wing"), nesting behavior that was known to be inaccurate by 2001, and leathery wings, rather than the taut membranes of muscle fiber which was actually present and required for pterosaur flight"

The books and movie both make refrance to the fact that nondinosaur DNA was used to fill in blanks in the found dinosaur DNA. This is presented to mean that they might not actually be dinosaurs but rather hybrids that contains traits not seen in the original species. Wether the stated inacuracies in the film were to emphasize this point needs to be fact checked and cited but I believe that is the case, in the books at least, and not a mistake by the filmmakers as the article currently reads. IRMacGuyver (talk) 01:35, 18 November 2010 (UTC)

He's not talking about the story of the film, but the portrayal by the filmmakers (the DNA excuse is moot wen you realize that the movie isn't real life.) The fact is that whatever excuse they used in the film, the producers decided to portray inaccurate pterosaurs that conform to existing public misconceptions. MMartyniuk (talk) 00:58, 18 November 2010 (UTC)
there is a big difference between a mistake and an intentional plot device though. Jurassic Park was definitly not trying to conform to existing public misconceptions. If you look at any of the suplementary material you know they tried to be on the cutting edge of paleontology thus making most inaccuracies intentional to display the DNA tampering by the scientests. As an example of this fact they added feathers to the raptors. IRMacGuyver (talk) 01:35, 18 November 2010 (UTC)
Yeah, when it comes to Hollywood, scientific accuracy doesn't come into consideration. The toothed Pteranodons were also way too small, too robust (there is no way a Pteranodon could carry an adult human in its claws). The Velociraptors were way too big, as were the Stegosaurs, etc, etc, etc/ So the inaccuracies don't even deserve a mention.Gazzster (talk) 09:38, 4 December 2010 (UTC)
The design changes were not intended to reflect the fact that they were mutants, but that has since been used as an excuse by fans. During the design process itself, changes to physical characteristics were only made to serve the specific movies. For example, Stan Winston didn't like the large pubic bone of Tyrannosaurus, so it doesn't stick out in the movie. FunkMonk (talk) 18:41, 4 December 2010 (UTC)
"Jurassic Park was definitly not trying to conform to existing public misconceptions. If you look at any of the supplementary material you know they tried to be on the cutting edge of paleontology" I think they absolutely tried to conform to current public misconceptions, or at least pay homage to classic monster movies, especially when it came to the pterosaurs. That doesn't invalidate the point of Hone's paper, which is simply that modern filmmaker's haven't tried to update pterosaurs the way they have dinosaurs (in fact they've intentionally tried to preserve an outdated view of them for familiarities sake). MMartyniuk (talk) 23:27, 4 December 2010 (UTC)
There's the Disney Dinosaur Pteranodon[3] though, that's pretty good. Better than the featherless maniraptorans in it. FunkMonk (talk) 23:53, 4 December 2010 (UTC)

Maniraptorans were not yet known to have feathers at the time of Dinosaur's production. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:07, 12 March 2012 (UTC)

Of course they were. Dinosaur was released in 2000. Coelurosaurs were proved to have feathers in 1996. That showed that feathers must have been a common feature of all theropods, and the first direct evidence in maniraptorans and oviraptorosaurs in particular came in 1997. Most paleontologists assumed maniraptorans very likely had feathers since at least the late 1980s. MMartyniuk (talk) 13:23, 12 March 2012 (UTC)

Requested move[edit]

The following discussion is an archived discussion of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

The result of the move request was: Not moved. Retracted by proposer. Thanks for clarifying. –CWenger (^@) 04:26, 17 June 2011 (UTC)

PterosaurPterodactyl – This is the WP:COMMONNAME according to a Google Fight and Google Books Ngrams. –CWenger (^@) 00:55, 17 June 2011 (UTC)

  • Oppose AFAIR, pterodactyls are a type of pterosaur, so pterosaurs are a wider class of animal than pterodactyls. (talk) 04:01, 17 June 2011 (UTC)
  • Oppose Information on the article lead is incorrect. Pterodactyl refers specifically to members of the genus Pterodactylus and more broadly to pterodactyloid pterosaurs. It does not refer to pterosaurs in general. 'Pterosaur' itself is the common name, the scientific name for the group is Pterosauria, of which Pterodactylus is a member. This is mentioned in the article itself. I have fixed this issues to avoid confusion.-- ObsidinSoul 04:18, 17 June 2011 (UTC)
The above discussion is preserved as an archive of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

Pterodactyl as a common name for Pterosauria[edit]

The given reasoning was this link: but that link doesn't quite say that. It says 'of the order Pterosauria', not 'all members of Pterosauria', implying a subgroup. Furthermore, it is only one of the definitions. Take special note of the definition from two other sources in Free Dictionary below:

The Free Dictionary - The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language
  • pterodactyl - Any of various small, mostly tailless, extinct flying reptiles of the order Pterosauria that existed during the Jurassic and Cretaceous periods.
The Free Dictionary - Collins English Dictionary
  • (Earth Sciences / Palaeontology) any extinct flying reptile of the genus Pterodactylus and related genera, having membranous wings supported on an elongated fourth digit See also pterosaur.
The Free Dictionary - American Heritage® Science Dictionary
  • Any of various small, extinct flying reptiles (pterosaurs) of the genus Pterodactylus of the late Jurassic and Cretaceous Periods. Pterodactyls had long, narrow jaws with sharp teeth, and a wingspan of 1 m (3.3 ft) or less.

And here are others:

The Grolier International Dictionary
  • pterodactyl - Any of the various extinct flying reptiles of the family Pterodactylidae.
  • pterosaur - Any of the various extinct flying reptiles of the order Pterosauria.
  • pterodactyl - Any of various pterosaurs (suborder Pterodactyloidea) of the Late Jurassic and Cretaceous having a rudimentary tail and a beak with reduced dentition; broadly: Pterosaur
1. pterodactyl - A pterosaur (Pterodactylus and other genera, family Pterodactylidae) of the late Jurassic period, with a long slender head and neck and a very short tail.
2. (in general use) Any pterosaur.
  • pterodactyl - any of a number of genera of flying reptiles of the extinct order Pterosauria, from the Jurassic and Cretaceous periods, having a highly reduced tail and teeth and a birdlike beak.
Word English Dictionary
  • pterodactyl - Pterodactylus and related genera, having membranous wings supported on an elongated fourth digit
  • 1. pterosaur: now a loose usage
  • 2. any of a suborder (Pterodactyloidea) of pterosaurs of the Jurassic and Cretaceous periods; specif., any of a genus (Pterodactylus) of this suborder
Webster Dictionary
  • (Paleon.) An extinct flying reptile; one of the Pterosauria. See Illustration in Appendix.


Notice they carefully make the distinction between the two though they acknowledge that it is sometimes used to refer to the broader group. And this is considering that most of them are careful to remain accessible to laypeople. Scientific literature, of course, do not refer to them as pterodactyls.

Thus I respectfully disagree and think that actually encouraging the use of 'pterodactyl' for pterosaurs in general is propagating an incorrect usage. The fact that 'pterodactyl' is sometimes and incorrectly used to refer to pterosaurs is already mentioned in the body of the article, that should be enough. It should not be treated as an official alias when it can be correctly applied to other groups.

It should not be highlighted as a widespread common name when it is not, per WP:DUE and WP:RS.

Per my own experiences for example, pterodactyl is never used to refer to later more elaborately crested pterosaurs (e.g. Pteranodon). The only instances when that happens (i.e. the 'widely used' thing) seems to be restricted to people who still refer to pterosaurs as 'dinosaurs' and perhaps cartoons, children's books and non-academic sources which imply that pterosaurs were a single species. Even if that does fall under 'more widely used' it is still wrong, and it is putting more weight on unreliable sources.

I have not actually seen a single source which says 'Pterosauria are commonly known as pterodactyls' as the main definition, except for Wikipedia. That raises all sorts of red flags. Historical usage notwithstanding, the use of 'pterodactyl' to refer to pterosaurs was only acceptable when the only known pterosaur was Pterodactylus (i.e. the 1800's) -- ObsidinSoul 07:35, 17 June 2011 (UTC)

Members of Pterodactyloidea are correctly termed pterodactyloids and members of Pterodactylidae pterodactylids. From what I can see, pterodactyl is an ambiguous vernacular name that is not used consistently in the scientific literature to refer to any specific subdivision of pterosaurs. You'll find that Pteranodon has indeed been called a pterodactyl in the relevant literature, repeatedly. The previous wording had remained in this article without objection for a number of years. Per WP:BRD, I suggest the former wording be restored until there is consensus to change it. mgiganteus1 (talk) 08:44, 17 June 2011 (UTC)
Then I request opinions from other editors here. Right now, searching for pterodactyl as a common usage for pterosaurs returns largely mirrors of Wikipedia, which I think is telling.
  • Precedence in Wikipedia does not mean being correct.
  • The usage of 'pterodactyl Pteranodon' in those papers were actually as a common name for pterodactyloid as defined by some of the dictionaries mentioned (Pteranodon is of course a pterodactyloid, but not all pterosaurs are pterodactyloids). It's used in what I actually count as three sources, the repetition is because of later studies citing them. The other results of that Google Scholar search are for non-Paleontological works. Furthermore, this usage of pterodactyl to refer to pterodactyloids is highlighted in the results you get when you search for pterodactyl and pterosaur, and even more obviously when you search for Rhamphorhynchoidea and pterodactyls, here and here (rhamphorhynchoids not being pterodactyloids).
Addendum: specific example of this usage:
Roughly 85 known species made up the order Pterosaurus of flying reptiles. A sub-order, Rhamphorhynchoidea, appeared 200 million years ago. They were rather small, some the size of sparrows, and featured short heads and necks and long tails. The other suborder, the Pterodactyloidea, emerged 50 million years later. These had long heads and necks, were almost tailless - and large. The Quetzalcoatlus species were pterodactyls, as was Pteranodon, whose wingspan reached seven meters. - Paul MacCready (1985). "The Great Pterodactyl Project" (PDF). Engineering & science. California Institute of Technology. 49: 18 – 24. 
There are numerous others. All of them scientific works which gives you no doubt as to the preferred usage in scientific literature.
  • For pterodactyloid, pterodactylid, etc. Per reasons/results above. And of course, by your rationale, if Pterodactyloidea is correctly pterodactyloid, shouldn't pterodactyl be correctly Pterodactylus and pterosaur be Pterosauria? It is not an exception to common names derived from latin names. Imagine if the two are interchangeable, what if we replaced all instances of 'pterosaur' in the articles Pterodactylus, Pterodactylidae, Pterodactyloidea, Pterosaur (all pterosaurian articles really) with 'pterodactyl'. The articles would become completely unreadable. You are right, it is ambiguous, hence why we should not adopt it.-- ObsidinSoul 09:17, 17 June 2011 (UTC)
Would it be an idea to have a disambiguation-style page for "Pterodactyl", something like this: [4] ? Petter Bøckman (talk) 10:57, 17 June 2011 (UTC)
That is actually already the version I've proposed in the dab page here.
And agree. The way I see it, 'Pterodactyl' applies in increasing vagueness from Pterodactylus -> Pterodactylidae -> Pterodactyloidea and finally, incorrectly for Pterosauria (which includes non-pterodactyloid pterosaurs, as discussed in my previous post). I have no problems with 'pterodactyl' being used for any of the former three groups, but I do think that redirecting it to Pterosaur and/or implying that pterosaur = pterodactyl is very wrong. Pterodactyl specifically refers to the genus and broadly as pterodactyloids, but it does not describe all pterosaurs.-- ObsidinSoul 11:32, 17 June 2011 (UTC)
I agree, but to be fair, (and maybe this should be discussed in the History section), the usage has evolved over time. Many papers from the late 19th and early 20th centuries used 'pterodactyls' as a vernacular term for pterosaurs in general. Only by the late 20th century had opinion shifted that this term should only be used for pterodactyloids or Pterodactylus itself (probably as an reaction against the many fictionalized hybrid-pterosaurs popping up in pop culture called only "pterodactyl").MMartyniuk (talk) 11:41, 17 June 2011 (UTC)
Yep, I've mentioned that above and yes, it is discussed in the article (see Pterosaur#History of discovery), albeit with no indication that its usage has now been discouraged (probably because previous versions of the article had pterodactyl prominently being portrayed as the more common name for the group). And if we go back really far enough, it's fairly obvious that pterodactyl (or more accurately 'Ptero-dactyle') was specifically coined for the genus (as I've mentioned, the name stuck simply because back then, the only known pterosaur, or at least the most widely known pterosaur, were specimens of Pterodactylus).
P.S. This discussion reminds me somewhat of Belemnoid and Belemnite.-- ObsidinSoul 12:04, 17 June 2011 (UTC)
The term should maybe be mentioned in the intro to quell confusion? FunkMonk (talk) 15:24, 17 June 2011 (UTC)
Will do, just have to find a ref I can use for this. I guess, we're in consensus though that it should be used primarily for Pterodactylus with mentions in Pterodactylidae, Pterodactyloidea (which actually already mentions it), and Pterosauria?-- ObsidinSoul 12:38, 18 June 2011 (UTC)
That looks about right to me. Petter Bøckman (talk) 12:55, 21 June 2011 (UTC)
'Pterodactyl' is of course a popular term for any pterosaur, though I think it is more used for the short-tailed, often toothless and crested species grouped in the Pterodactloidea. So yes, pterodactyl is not just a popular term. It is a scientific term too, though it should be noted it should properly be applied to short-tailed pterosaurs. This has been well-pointed out. I only affirm these opinions. Gazzster (talk) 05:10, 20 June 2011 (UTC)
Yep. Most laypeople aren't aware of the smaller long-tailed and toothed rhamphorhynchoids and thus assume that all pterosaurs are pterodactyls, which is incorrect.-- ObsidinSoul 08:37, 20 June 2011 (UTC)

3 minor comments.[edit]

please forgive any ignorance shown by this layperson. Firstly the earliest Rhamphorhynchoidea is given as 230mya - Pterosaur 220mya. Is this not inconsistent? Secondly the cladogram on Avemetatarsalia uses Pterosauromorpha rather than Pterosauria. I believe that current thinking is that the two are synonymous. Would it not be useful to either explain this on Pterosaur and/or the Avemetatarsalia clade, have a page for Pterosauromorpha, or remove any reference to Pterosauromorpha. Thirdly, and this may be a particularly stupid question. Avemetatarsalia is given as a branch of Reptillia. It's subdivisions Dinosauromorpha and Pterosauromorpha are also given as branches. Is it normal to have branch within branch rather than say Superbranch/Branch or Branch/Sub-Branch.CptPugwash (talk) 01:32, 18 January 2012 (UTC)

  1. I think part of the issue is that the dates and circumscription of certain latest Triassic stages/formations have changed a lot recently. The earliest pterosaurs are Norian, nowadays dated to about 210 Ma, so both dates are wrong. I'll correct these.
  2. Depends on the definition. Technically, Pterosauromorpha is a branch and Pterosauria is a node, theretofore they do not have the same content. However, currently we do not know of any non-pterosaur pterosauromorphs so they are also presently synonyms. A bit confusing, but thus is phylogenetic nomenclature.
  3. "Branch" is not a rank, but rather a type of clade. It's perfectly valid to have branches of other branches (think of a tree). MMartyniuk (talk) 15:49, 19 January 2012 (UTC)

Thanks foe the replies. i understand on point 2 that previously there it was thought that Peterosauria had a sister taxon within Peterosauromorpha hence the branch & node. However a layperson (like me)can not find that information within wiki. Hence (i believe) either the need for either a stub for Pterosauromorpha or a comment within Pterosaur on this relationship. CptPugwash (talk) 12:14, 20 January 2012 (UTC)

Pterosaur Cladogram[edit]

There appears to be significant differences between the cladogram described here and the Cladogram used in the Paleobiology Database both of which I think are based on Unwin 2003. E.G Breviquartossa- sister taxon Campylognathoides. Subtaxa: Caelidracones, Monofenestrata, Rhamphorhynchidae, Sordes. This places the clades of Breviquatossa and Caelidracones the other way round.CptPugwash (talk) 13:15, 23 January 2012 (UTC)

I appreciate that a lot of Pterosaur classification is a case of shifting sands, and some pages get updated based on recent theories whilst other pages don't. I would like to point out some inconsistencies based on the pesky Scleromochus. Quite a lot seems to be based on Nesbitt (2011) which quotes Benton (1999) & (2004) but not the more recent Benton (2011) whilst some pages use Benton (2011). In an ideal world there would be some consistency using one or the other, whilst perhaps mentioning the other.

Nesbitt places Scleromochus as a sister Taxon of Pterosaur within Pterosaurmorpha. Benton (2011) has Scleromochus as a sister taxon to Pterosaurmorpha within Avemetarsalia. There is a third position on the Avemetarsalia page that has Scleromochus as a sister taxon to Ornithodira within Avemetarsalia (Benton 2004)on the classification but uses the Nesbitt cladogram.

If the former is preferred then Pterosaur & Pterosaurmorpha are not synonymous and the need for a Ptersarmorpha stub? If the second is preferred then the Scleromochus classification needs changing. If the third then Avemetarsalia and Ornithodra are not synonomous and the need for an Ornithodra stub? Whichever way some of the Pterosaur Cladograms are Inconsistent. CptPugwash (talk) 02:30, 26 January 2012 (UTC)

GA Review[edit]

This review is transcluded from Talk:Pterosaur/GA1. The edit link for this section can be used to add comments to the review.

Reviewer: MasterOfHisOwnDomain (talk · contribs) 20:10, 29 February 2012 (UTC)


A primarily excellent article making use of good, scholarly sources and clearly written. Which makes certain sections that have numerous unreferenced statements and slightly less than clear wording stand out all the more. Some work is required to fulfill the GA criteria:

  1. Well written:
    (a) the prose is clear and concise, and the spelling and grammar are correct; and Not done
    (b) it complies with the manual of style guidelines for lead sections, layout, words to watch, fiction, and list incorporation.  Done
  2. Verifiable with no original research:
    (a) it contains a list of all references (sources of information), presented in accordance with the layout style guideline;  Done
    (b) all in-line citations are from reliable sources, including those for direct quotations, statistics, published opinion, counter-intuitive or controversial statements that are challenged or likely to be challenged, and contentious material relating to living persons—science-based articles should follow the scientific citation guidelines; and Not done
    (c) it contains no original research.
  3. Broad in its coverage:
    (a) it addresses the main aspects of the topic; and
    (b) it stays focused on the topic without going into unnecessary detail (see summary style).
  4. Neutral: it represents viewpoints fairly and without editorial bias, giving due weight to each. Done
  5. Stable: it does not change significantly from day to day because of an ongoing edit war or content dispute. Done
  6. Illustrated, if possible, by images: Done
    (a) images are tagged with their copyright status, and valid fair use rationales are provided for non-free content; and Not done
    The image of the Rhamphorynchus, found here has a tag that "should not be used".
    (b) images are relevant to the topic, and have suitable captions.  Done


The paragraphs in the lede that discuss the terms used to describe pterosaurs; does this content appear in the main body of the article? There cannot be any signficant information that appears only in the lede.

Additionally, the lede should not really contain references (since any statements must appear in the main body and would be referenced there); do the references 1-4 (and also 5-8 to an extent) appear here because the information is not present elsewhere; if not for this reason, why do they appear?

Well written:

A few problems I've found regarding clarity and wording:

  • The third paragraph of the lede; why is this separate from the previous paragraph? They both discuss incorrect terms that people use to describe Pterosaurs.
  • Lede: "This usage is discouraged." By whom? I would assume the scientific community.
  • In popular culture: "the depiction of dinosaurs in popular media has changed radically" - has it though; aren't some depictions of dinosaurs still outdated? And "as long as their cousins" - is cousins an accurate term here, or simply an easy way to word their connection? And "Pterosaurs were first used in fiction" - 'featured' more appropriate? "1925 film adaptation" - can this be linked?

Factually accurate and verifiable:

Several instances of "citation needed" already identified. Additionally:

  • History of discovery
  • [...] second paragraph: Reference is incorrectly formatted.
  • [...] third paragraph: applied fact template to statements that require referencing.
  • Evolution and extinction
  • Classification: Several statements requiring references.
  • Well-known genera: Unsure whether each entry requires a reference. Would this be possible, just to cover things?
  • In popular culture
  • "The number and diversity of pterosaurs in the popular consciousness is also not as high as it has been historically for dinosaurs."
  • Third paragraph requires several references for unverified statements, particularly the use of David Hone without acknowledgement of sources.

Three references are incorrectly formatted or lack certain parameters.

  • Ref 29
  • Ref 30
  • Ref 34


Pterosaur links to 1 disambiguation page (fix links).

Chris Bennett

Pterosaur links to 1 redirect which point back.

Pycnofibres (redirect page)

- MasterOfHisOwnDomain (talk) 20:10, 29 February 2012 (UTC)


  • As a note, I'm currently working on trying to fix these issues. Thank you! ---Michaelzeng7 (talk - contribs) 21:08, 1 March 2012 (UTC)
  • Hey, I finished fixing the article with your comments above, and I'm interested in what you think. Thanks! ---Michaelzeng7 (talk - contribs) 22:32, 2 March 2012 (UTC)
  • You've addressed the majority of the points I've raised, and the article is more solid thanks to this. Although a few of the minor points on wording haven't been discussed or changed, this doesn't prevent a promotion to GA.

Result: Passed. - MasterOfHisOwnDomain (talk) 11:05, 3 March 2012 (UTC)

Thank you! ---Michaelzeng7 (talk - contribs) 14:29, 3 March 2012 (UTC)


Should we mention convergent evolution between pterosaurs and birds? They both have similar wings, as often mentioned, but look at them, they both have beaks! They look like birds. Should that be in this article as well? Thylacinus cynocephalus (talk) 08:32, 10 March 2012 (UTC)

Not necessary. Most pteorsaurs do not have beaks (a majority have toothed jaws instead, like alligators). Beaks evolved numerous times among vertebrates so it's just as convergeant with turtles as it is with birds. The wings are not similar in any way--pterosaur wings are in some ways more similar to bats than birds, but are very different structures from either. MMartyniuk (talk) 14:59, 10 March 2012 (UTC)

Schematic needed[edit]

The paragraph below needs an accompanying schematic and perhaps a rewrite: it was fairly confusing even to me.

"The pterosaur wrist consists of two inner (proximal) and four outer (distal) carpals (wrist bones), excluding the pteroid bone, which may itself be a modified distal carpal. The proximal carpals are fused together into a "syncarpal" in mature specimens, while three of the distal carpals fuse to form a distal syncarpal. The remaining distal carpal, referred to here as the medial carpal, but which has also been termed the distal lateral, or pre-axial carpal, articulates on a vertically elongate biconvex facet on the anterior surface of the distal syncarpal. The medial carpal bears a deep concave fovea that opens anteriorly, ventrally and somewhat medially, within which the pteroid articulates."

I'll however defer such an endeavour to people more knowledgeable than me on the anatomy of these animals. Dracontes (talk) 17:50, 4 May 2012 (UTC)

"Pterosaurs Are Not Dinosaurs" a bit too certain?[edit]

Can we get at least get a source on the statement? I'm a layperson but this bit: "The term "dinosaur" is properly restricted to a certain group of reptiles with a unique upright stance" according to some searches I've done online is considered a very outdated definition. According to the classification system of cladistics, species in a clade have a common ancestor. Therefore, at the very least, it should read that dinosaurs are "animals whose ancestry is shared", not "reptiles from Period X,Y,Z that stand up." But, more to the point, there seems to be too large a gap in the fossil record to determine that Pterosaurs definitely weren't dinosaurs (according to the cladistical definition, that the Wikipedia article on dinosaurs uses). Can anyone please help me out here? Apologies on the poor writing. ProfNax (talk) 16:55, 26 May 2012 (UTC)

Pterosaurs aren't dinosaurs; they don't meet the phylogenetic requirements, which would to be descended from the most recent common ancestor shared by the common house sparrow and Triceratops. Abyssal (talk) 12:04, 31 January 2013 (UTC)
Indeed, pterosaurs (or pterosaurians, depending on how you wanna say it) are excluded from Dinosauria by definition (scientific minds tend to use Triceratops+Passer, their LCA (which would be more likely silesaurians and their ilk instead of pterosaurs, which developed from an as-of-yet unknown group of saurians) and all descendants of that LCA as the definition in phylogeny, AFAIKR), as well as lacking some of the distinct characters of dinosaurs that all dinosaurs share, but no other saurians do.
If pterosaurs have all the following characteristics, then they are true dinosaurs (or dinosauromorphs if they have most of them but lack a few);
  • in the skull, a supratemporal fossa (excavation) is present in front of the supratemporal fenestra, the main opening in the rear skull roof
  • epipophyses, obliquely backward pointing processes on the rear top corners, present in the anterior (front) neck vertebrae behind the atlas and axis, the first two neck vertebrae
  • apex of deltopectoral crest (a projection on which the deltopectoral muscles attach) located at or more than 30% down the length of the humerus (upper arm bone)
  • radius, a lower arm bone, shorter than 80% of humerus length
  • fourth trochanter (projection where the caudofemoralis muscle attaches on the inner rear shaft) on the femur(thighbone) is a sharp flange
  • fourth trochanter asymmetrical, with distal, lower, margin forming a steeper angle to the shaft
  • on the astragalus and calcaneum, upper ankle bones, the proximal articular facet, the top connecting surface, for the fibula occupies less than 30% of the transverse width of the element
  • exocciptials (bones at the back of the skull) do not meet along the midline on the floor of the endocranial cavity, the inner space of the braincase
  • in the pelvis, the proximal articular surfaces of the ischium with the ilium and the pubis are separated by a large concave surface (on the upper side of the ischium a part of the open hip joint is located between the contacts with the pubic bone and the ilium)
  • cnemial crest on the tibia (protruding part of the top surface of the shinbone) arcs anterolaterally (curves to the front and the outer side)
  • distinct proximodistally oriented (vertical) ridge present on the posterior face of the distal end of the tibia (the rear surface of the lower end of the shinbone)
  • Concave articular surface for the fibula of the calcaneum (the top surface of the calcaneum, where it touches the fibula, has a hollow profile)

If they do not meet all these characters, then they are automatically excluded from Dinosauria by default, because they lack all the defining traits of Dinosauria. Dinosauromorpha is a little more lax, but no serious scientific worker has ever suggested pterosaurs as dinosauromorphs, IIRC. No scientific expert's ever claimed that pterosaurs are dinosaurs, either, it's an inevitable misconception brought on by the differing usage of "dinosaur" in common and scientific scenarios (common being "Hey, that computer's a dinosaur, man!" and scientific being "Dinosaurians (commonly known as dinosaurs) are a order of saurians belonging to the Archosauria.") Everything old is, to a layman, a "dinosaur", and thus any prehistoric reptile (hell, I've even heard of cases of Pleistocene mammals getting the treatment. Pleistocene. mammals.) getting the label "dinosaur". Excuse me if my pterosaur knowledge is a little off, I've been rather sleepless lately (probably because I'm eagerly awaiting Christmas break ;)). Dromaeosaurus is best dinosaur (talk) 13:50, 17 December 2013 (UTC)

Sorry to post a comment so tardily, but part of your argument has to be contradicted, lest the innocent reader be deceived. Firstly, whether a species belong to a certain group can be proven by its traits but it is not caused by them. The synapomorphies of the Dinosauria you mention do not define the group; they are simply a set of traits found in one analysis to equally likely be shown by the last common ancestor of the group. Secondly, later dinosaurs often lost these traits; modern birds e.g., that is the majority of known dinosaurs, do not show the majority of them.--MWAK (talk) 16:22, 3 March 2015 (UTC)


The article makes references to David Peters in the section about evolution and the ancestors of pterosaurs. Should he be included in the article at all? He is not a paleontologist and has no scientific education, he is a paleoartist and blogger who has his own opinions about prehistoric animals and their evolution.2A02:FE0:C900:1:ADC4:D2C2:F604:A44D (talk) 09:24, 27 March 2014 (UTC)

Whatever his qualifications, he is 1) published in peer-reviewed literature, which in this day and age is really what counts,[5] not academic qualifications, and b) highly prolific on the web. A section like the one we have which discusses his work basically only as a way of debunking it is probably valuable. Dinoguy2 (talk) 12:06, 27 March 2014 (UTC)
Reviving this point, I concur that we need to address him in some form of this article, because he's widely-known by palaeontologists and he floods Google Image Search for a number of genera with his ridiculous speculation. He's published scientific papers, as well, so we can't flat-out ignore him. The way we have it structured right now is fine. Raptormimus456 (talk) 15:20, 26 November 2015 (UTC)

Evidence for Permian Pterosaurs?[edit]

Just thought Id mention that researchers at the University of Tasmania have discovered a slab of Permian mudstone that has the characteristic foot prints of Pterosaurs (3 front toes, 4 hind toes). As far as Im aware nothing has been published yet but Ive seen the slab for myself and the trackways are Pterosaurs, and the age of the slab is Permian, ergo... If I hear of anything being published Ill post it here for discussion. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Dalamani (talkcontribs) 12:21, 22 June 2015 (UTC)

Would need to wait for publication. Not unreasonable, but footprint tracks have been wildly misdated before, like the "Triassic" bird tracks in South America that turned out to be Maastrichtian. Dinoguy2 (talk) 11:26, 23 June 2015 (UTC)
And such tracks are not easily identified. Were the fingers much smaller and pointing obliquely to behind? That would be a convincing point. Underprints can lose any number of digits :o).--MWAK (talk) 17:45, 5 July 2015 (UTC)

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QN Quetzalcoatlus did not have additional control surfaces[edit]

I was involved in the design of MacCready's QN Quetzalcoatlus. The statement in the main article that extra control surfaces were added to the model is absolutely incorrect. A main point of the project was to show that the technology of that time allowed for a highly natural like flight design for the replica.

Where there was a major error is that during the mid 1980s it was widely thought that the main wing membrane did not attach to the legs, so the latter were folded up along the body like in flying birds. Hence the model lacked the elevator controls that could be obtained by having the main membrane attached to the ankles and the legs extended laterally and posteriorly.

Control was achieved by using the head for a rudder effect -- biomechanically dubious -- and varying the sweep of the wings forward and back for pitch control. It worked reasonably well and showed that a flying creatures flight could be replicated at a basic level by not resorting to extra aerodynamic surfaces.

The main article should be modified to correct the inaccurate information.

Gregory Paul — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:19, 6 October 2016 (UTC)