What is Pterosaur?

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What is Pterosaur?     Blog Image


Paleontologists recently discovered a new species of pterosaur after analysing 100-million-year-old fossilised bones uncovered in western Queensland, Australia.

About Pterosaur:

  • A pterosaur is any of the flying reptiles that flourished during all periods (Triassic, Jurassic, and Cretaceous) of the Mesozoic Era (252.2 million to 66 million years ago). 
  • Although pterosaurs are not dinosaurs, both are archosaurs, or “ruling reptiles,” a group to which birds and crocodiles also belong. 
  • Pterosaurs were not only the first reptiles capable of flight. They were also the first vertebrates to fly.
  • It included the largest vertebrate ever known to fly: the late Cretaceous Quetzalcoatlus.
  • The appearance of flight in pterosaurs was separate from the evolution of flight in birds and bats; pterosaurs are not closely related to either birds or bats and thus provide a classic example of convergent evolution.
  • Their wings were formed by a sophisticated membrane of skin stretching from the thorax to a dramatically lengthened fourth finger.
  • Earlier species had long, fully-toothed jaws and long tails, while later forms had a highly reduced tail and some lacked teeth.
  • They often had long necks, which sometimes had throat pouches similar to pelicans' for catching fish.
  • The pterosaurs went extinct at the end of the Cretaceous period, around 65.5 million years ago, during the mass extinction known as the Cretaceous-Tertiary extinction event (K-T extinction event).

When the pterosaurs disappeared, their role as the dominate vertebrates in the skies was taken over by the birds, which are considered to be of dinosaur ancestry.

Q1: What is convergent evolution?

Convergent evolution occurs when organisms that aren’t closely related evolve similar features or behaviors, often as solutions to the same problems. The process can result in matching body shapes, color patterns or abilities.

Source: New species of pterosaur discovered using 100-million-year-old fossilised bones