Fossil pterosaur skeleton - ROM2007_9625_1


Fossil pterosaur skeleton

Place Collected
North America, USA, Kansas, Lane County
    • Attributes
    • Objects
    • Taxonomy
    • KingdomAnimalia
    • PhylumChordata
    • ClassReptilia
    • OrderPterosauria
    • FamilyOrnithocheiridae
    • GenusPteranodon
    • SpecificEpithetsternbergi
Object number: ROMVP55375
On view
Gallery Location:James and Louise Temerty Galleries of the Age of Dinosaurs, Life on Land Jurassic, Pterosaurs, Pteranodon
DescriptionPteranodon sternbergi lived during the late Cretaceous period, 75 million years ago. A large flying reptile, the Pteranodon had a conspicuous head crest and long-toothless, sharp-beak. The distinctive head crest projected up and away, acting as a rudder during flight for increased steering and stability. It also counterbalanced the weight of the skull and large beak. Unlike birds, whose wings are formed by feathers arranged along the arm, the wings of pterosaurs were made of leathery skin, stretched between a single enormously long fourth finger and the body. The earliest pterosaurs, dating from the Jurassic period, were sparrow-size, with a long tail. By the Cretaceous, pterosaurs had no tails, and were much larger. Some had wing spans in excess of 11 metres – making them the largest flying creatures ever to exist on Earth. The ROM's Pteranodon has an extremely large wing span, (about 7.3 metres or 24-feet), suggesting it likely spent much of its time soaring on air currents. Like other pterosaurs of the Cretaceous period, the Pteranodon had a rather stout neck, compact body and was virtually tailless.
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