Pteranodon was a huge flying reptile with a wingspan of over 20 feet. It belonged to an extinct group of reptiles called pterosaurs. Pterosaurs were not dinosaurs but were closely related. Pteranodon lived during the Cretaceous Period, about 86 million years ago in what is now western North America. Although Pteranodon and other pterosaurs resembled modern bats, they were not related.
- Scientific Name: Pteranodon, meaning roughly ‘toothless wing’.
- Characteristics: Pteranodon had no teeth, only a long, slender beak. The skull has a long crest that projects upward and backward. The function of the crest is uncertain, but we do know that the size and shape of the crest are different in males and females, so it was most likely used as a display structure during courtship, and may also have been used as a rudder during flight. This baby Pteranodon is too young to fly or to look for a mate, so the crest is still small.
- Size and Color: This model is 2 inches long with a 2 wingspan. The adult colors have not yet developed, so the baby is still pink, like a baby bird still in its nest.
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The first Pteranodon specimen was found in 1870 in Kansas by Othniel Marsh, the famous paleontologist from Yale University. Marsh recognized that it was a pterosaur, but it had no head, so he wasn’t sure whether it was the same as the pterosaurs from Europe, or something new. A few years later, in 1876, some skulls were found, showing that Pteranodon was indeed completely different from any known pterosaur. Since then, well over 1000 Pteranodon fossils representing both young and old animals have been discovered, making it one of the best-known pterosaurs.
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- Size: 1.85" L 1.85" H x ( 4.75 cm x 4.75 cm )