How Pterosaurs Worked

Lots More Information

Author's Note: How Pterosaurs Worked

Like almost every little boy of my generation, I loved dinosaurs. I liked reading about them, visiting museums about them and wearing them on my T-shirts. My mom said I was basically a walking dinosaur encyclopedia, ready to spout off the length and time period for every species from Tyrannosaurus rex to Brachiosaurus. Imagine my surprise, while researching this article, to find out that pterosaurs weren't actually dinosaurs. I didn't even use the right name, mistakenly calling them "pterodactyls" instead. Little me would have been disappointed but glad to have this opportunity to set the record straight — and have someone besides Mom listening to him go on about prehistoric reptiles.

Related Articles


  • American Museum of Natural History. "Flying Colors: Pterosaurs' Crests." May 13, 2014. (Feb. 10, 2015)
  • American Museum of Natural History. "How did Pterosaurs Fly?" (Feb. 13, 2015)
  • American Museum of Natural History. "Pterosaur of the Day: Pterodaustro." March 31, 2014. (Feb. 10, 2015)
  • American Museum of Natural History. "Why are Pterosaur Fossils Rare?" (Feb. 9, 2015)
  • Castro, Joseph. "Pterodactyl, Pteranodon & Other Flying 'Dinosaurs.'" Live Science. Jan. 26, 2015. (Feb. 11, 2015)
  • Habib, Mike. "Pterosaur Flight." (Feb. 13, 2015)
  • Hutchinson, John R. and Dave Smith. "Vertebrate Flight: Avian Flight." University of California Museum of Paleontology. Dec. 15, 1995. (Feb. 11, 2015)
  • Monastersky, Richard. "Pterosaurs – Lords of the Ancient Skies." National Geographic. (Feb. 10, 2015)
  • Naish, Darren. "Myths and Misconceptions." (Feb. 10, 2015)
  • National Park Service. "A Paleontological Paradise." (Feb. 12, 2015)
  • National Park Service. "Pterosaurs." (Feb. 12, 2015)
  • Sneed, Annie. "Giant Pterosaurs Serve as Aircraft Inspiration." Scientific American. July 15, 2014. (Feb. 13, 2015)
  • Switek, Brian. "New Golden Age for Pterosaurs, Flying Reptiles of the Dinosaur Era." National Geographic. April 5, 2014. (Feb. 9, 2015)
  • Switek, Brian. "Why a Pterosaur is Not a Dinosaur." Nov. 18, 2010. (Feb. 9, 2015)
  • Taquet, Philippe and Kevin Padian. "The Earliest Known Restoration of a Pterosaur and the Philosophical Origins of Cuvier's Ossemens Fossiles." Comptes Rendus Palevol. Vol. 3. Issue 2. March 2004.
  • Than, Ker. "Mother Pterosaurs Laid Soft Eggs, New Fossil Hints." National Geographic News. Jan. 20, 2011. (Feb. 9, 2015)
  • Unwin, David M. "The Pterosaurs: From Deep Time." Pi Press. Aug. 25, 2005.
  • Vogel, Gretchen. "Launch Limit for Pterosaur Flight." Science. Nov. 10, 2014. (Feb. 13, 2015)
  • Witton, Mark P. "Pterosaurs: Natural History, Evolution, Anatomy." Princeton University Press. June 23, 2013.
  • Witton, Mark P. "Why Pterosaurs Weren't So Scary After All." The Guardian. Aug. 10, 2013. (Feb. 9, 2015)
  • Witton, Mark P. and Darren Naish. "A Reappraisal of Azhdarchid Pterosaur Functional Morphology and Paleoecology." PLoS ONE. May 28, 2008. (Feb. 12, 2015)
  • Woollaston, Victoria and Sarah Griffiths. "An Eggs-traordinary Find! Ancient Reptile Fossils Shed Light on How Mysterious Pterosaurs Nested like Modern-day Birds." Daily Mail. June 5, 2014. (Feb. 9, 2015)