Means: Winged and Toothless
Period: Late Cretaceous, 85 Million Years Ago
Region: Kansas, South Dakota and Wyoming, USA
Pteranodon is a pterosaur, a type of extinct flying reptile and not a dinosaur! Pterosaurs were a very unusual group of reptiles that lived alongside the dinosaurs. They were the earliest back-boned animals to evolve powered flight and take to the sky. There are many species known. The smallest had a wingspan of around 250 mm, whereas the largest had a wingspan of about 10 – 11 m! They became extinct at the end of the Cretaceous Period, around 66 million years ago. Pteranodon is perhaps the most famous pterosaur; it had a wingspan of 7 m. Over 1,000 specimens, from almost complete skeletons to fragmentary bones, have been found. Pteranodon fossils are associated with strata laid down in marine environments and it is thought that these flying reptiles fed on small fish.