Pterosaurs were the first major group of flying
vertebrates. Their name translates as "winged lizards,"
but they were in fact very closely related to dinosaurs. The earliest
known pterosaurs have been recovered from Triassic
rocks (about 220 million years old) in Europe. During the Jurassic and Cretaceous Periods,
they reached high levels of diversity; their fossils have been
discovered on every continent except Antarctica, and they grew
to the size of airplanes. Pterosaurs went extinct
at the end of the Cretaceous
Period 65 million years ago, leaving no descendants. Visit the
links below to find out more about them.
Author: John D. Orcutt
Last Updated: 11/2005
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