The wingspan of the largest species of pteranodon (the term employed by working paleontologists as opposed to the culturally popular term "pterodactyl") was up to 30 feet. This wingspan is much larger than that of any modern flying bird.Continue Reading
About.com states that it is unclear when "pterodactyl" became a synonym for pterosaurs in general and for the pterodactylus and pteranodon specifically. Most lay people, along with Hollywood screenwriters, continue to use the term. "Working paleontologists never refer to 'pterodactyls,' instead focusing on individual pterosaur genera," the site states.
Pterodactylus was discovered in 1784. The pteranodon was discovered in the mid-19th century. Later paleontologists counted numerous individual species among each of these genera.Learn more about Dinosaurs
While some scientists argue that Deinonychus was a pack-hunting dinosaur, not all paleontologists agree with this assertion, though there is some isolated fossil evidence showing multiple Deinonychus specimens fossilized with a much larger prey dinosaur species. This evidence may establish that there was at least one instance of Deinonychus attacking the same prey, which was arguably too large to be taken down by a single Deinonychus, but that evidence is not sufficient for all experts in the field to agree that this dinosaur was definitely a pack hunter. There is additional evidence to support this idea, including multiple fossil sites suggesting that Deinonychus regularly fed on this larger dinosaur, the Tenontosaurus.Full Answer >
Though there have been a few instances of scientists purporting to have found larger specimens, the longest known dinosaur that is widely accepted by paleontologists seems to be the Diplodocus, a type of sauropod dinosaur with a long neck and long tail that is said to have measured as much as 175 feet in length. There seems to be some controversy and debate around the question of which dinosaur is truly the longest, with scientists introducing competitors such as the Seismosaurus, which was once thought to be a distinct species but was eventually found to be a very large Diplodocus specimen. The Seismosaurus' discovery was announced in 1991, but its existence as a unique species was debunked just over a decade later, a fact that was announced at an academic event in 2004.Full Answer >
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.Full Answer >
Pterodactyls, also known as pterosaurs, were carnivores. They were scavengers, and when young, consumed insects. Once they matured, they ate fish and the carcasses of other animals, including those of other dinosaurs.Full Answer >