Scientists do not know exactly why the pterodactyls died out approximately 65 million years ago. Some scientists believe that they died as a result of a meteor impact, while others believe climate change was to blame. Some scientists believe that volcanic gases were the leading cause, according to ABC Science.
Pterodactyls, or pterosaurs as they are correctly called, are not dinosaurs, although they lived at the same time. Despite their ability to fly, pterosaurs are not ancestors of modern birds, as dinosaurs are. Pterosaurs varied greatly in size. The smallest species had wingspans of less than 1 foot. By contrast, the largest species had wingspans of 30 feet or more. Pterosaurs were carnivorous reptiles who ate insects when they were young, before graduating to fish and small animals. According to Live Science, many pterosaurs were scavengers that would feed on dead dinosaurs.
According to About.com, many people believe that pterosaurs did not become extinct when the dinosaurs did. Instead, they believe that pterosaurs still exist and are seen from time to time. Among other pieces of evidence, such people point to eyewitness accounts and cave paintings that appear to feature the winged reptiles. However, About.com explains that most scientists doubt these claims.