The habitat of the pterodactyl was the shores of Europe and South Africa. The pterodactyl roamed the skies during the Jurassic period, approximately 150 million years ago. At this time its habitat along the coasts of Europe and South Africa was wetlands, marshes and swamps.Continue Reading
The wetlands provided a prime environment to preserve the fossils of the pterodactyl. Its body became buried in mud, which hardened over millions of years into solid limestone. Fossils of this reptile first emerged in Bavaria, Germany.
Despite the pterodactyl's distinct dinosaur look, its long beak filled with more than 90 very sharp teeth and its leathery wings, it isn't considered a dinosaur but a pterosaur. It was a small reptile with a wingspan between 3 and 5 feet and weighed up to 10 pounds. Its name comes from the Greek word for "wing finger" because of its long fourth fingers located at the ends of its wings. The first pterodactyl fossils were discovered in 1784 in Germany and were a problematic discovery because scientists did not understand evolution or extinction at that time.
The pterodactyl is often confused, erroneously, for the pteranodon, which was much bigger with a wingspan of up to 18 feet.Learn more about Dinosaurs