What are the flying dinosaurs called? Top 10 Types

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If you’re a Jurassic World fan, you must remember those fearsome flying dinosaurs that escaped from the glass dome. Yes, they are Pterosaurs. However, I am sorry to tell you that we have not yet found a dinosaur that can fly, and the earliest Pterosaurs are not dinosaurs, but flying reptiles.

Despite this, we are still curious about these flying creature that once flew in the prehistoric world. So in this blog, we will still regard them as flying dino to satisfy our curiosity about mysterious life.

Let’s explore the top 10 types of various flying dinosaurs, how they flew, and a couple of interesting ones that you might not have heard of before.

Let’s take a quick view of what you going to read:

  1. What Are The Flying Dinosaurs Called?
  2. The Top 10 Flying Dinosaurs
  • (1) Pterodactylus
  • (2) Pterodaustro
  • (3) Moganopterus
  • (4) Pteranodon
  • (5) Istiodactylus
  • (6) Quetzalcoatlus
  • (7) Tupandactylus
  • (8) Rhamphorhynchus
  • (9) Dimorphodon
  • (10) Hatzegopteryx

1. What Are The Flying Dinosaurs Called?

Flying dinosaurs are a group of Pterosaurs known for their flight adaptations that allowed them to fly, such as lightweight bones and air sacs.

Pterosaur fossil found suggested pterosaurs first appeared in the late Triassic Period. These flying reptiles weren’t dinosaurs, rather, they were precursors to them.

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Pterosaurs were the first vertebrates to develop powered flight. And the pterosaurs’ wing bones were hollow tubes, with walls no thicker than a playing card This allowed them to glide or fly through the air. If you’re interested you can learn more about pterosaur flight at pterosaur aerodynamics.

There were many different types of pterosaurs, some with long necks and others with short necks. Some had small bodies and others had large bodies. Due to numerous gaps in the fossil record, Pterosaur internal categorization has always been challenging.

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Look at the picture above, it is a Pterodactyl puppet. It rests on the performer’s shoulder and is definitely the most popular Jurassic world dinosaur show.

Despite so many types of Pterosaurs, we still want to introduce the top 10 flying dinosaurs for you.

2. The Top 10 Flying Dinosaurs

(1) Pterodactylus

Pterodactylus is the first pterosaur genus that lived in the late Jurassic Period. By the way, Pterodactyl is an informal term for Pterosaurs, based on this genus known to science, Pterodactylus antiquus.

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Pterodactylus is the first Pterosaur to be named and classified as a flying reptile. Its name comes from the Greek word meaning “winged finger,” which is an apt description of its flying apparatus.

Unlike birds, Pterodactylus has grown continuously throughout its lifetime. Take a look at the best animatronic pterosaur in the picture below, it stood on the tree trunk, as if it was preparing to fly to the sky.

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They were relatively small Pterosaurs, with an estimated adult wingspan of about 1.04 meters (3 ft 5 in), based on the only known adult specimen, which is represented by an isolated skull.

Pterodactylus was closely related to pterosaurs and had a head crest on its skull composed mainly of other tissues.

(2) Pterodaustro

Pterodaustro is a later Pterosaurs with a long head, big eye sockets, and teeth used to squeeze tiny organisms from the water. Living during the early Cretaceous period, it features bristle-like teeth, unlike other Pterosaurs.

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The mature wingspan of a Pterodaustro was around 2.5 meters. It has strong hind limbs and huge feet.

Pterodaustro most likely strained food with its tooth comb, a technique known as “filter feeding,” which is also used by modern birds such as flamingos.

(3) Moganopterus

Moganopterus lived in the Early Cretaceous Period and is an extinct genus of ctenochasmatid pterosaur from Liaoning Province, China.

Because of the blade-like jaws, its name is derived from a legendary Chinese couple, Gan Jiang and Mo Ye. The wife sacrifices herself by throwing herself into the fire in order to forge swords.

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Moganopterus has a large skull than most pterosaur skulls, about 95 centimeters (3.12 ft) long. It also has a relatively long neck vertebra, the fourth of it preserved now is about 14.5 centimeters (5.7 in) long.

Moganopterus is one of the biggest pterosaurs, with a wing span estimated at 7 meters (23 feet) considering the size of the skull and neck.

In addition, I think it can also be included in the list of A Fun Guide to Long Neck Dinosaurs [With 10 Dino Names].

(4) Pteranodon

Pteranodon is a genus of Pterosaur that lived during the Late Cretaceous period, with a long wingspan of 6.5 m (21 ft).

Almost 1200 fossils of this Pterosaur have been found enough to give researchers good anatomical information.

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Pteranodon features its cranial crest that was made of bone. Its wing shape suggests that it would have flown just like a modern-day albatross.

Fish fossil remains have been found in the stomach of these Pterosaur fossils, so Pteranodon belongs to fish eaters, and also eats some other animals.

(5) Istiodactylus

Istiodactylus was a large flying reptile that lived during the Early Cretaceous Period, about 120 million years ago. The first fossil found appeared on the English Isle of Wight in 1887. In 1901, these remains were identified as a new species in the genus Ornithodesmus.

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It is believed to have had a wingspan of 14-16 feet, making it one of the largest pterosaurs in its family.

What did Istiodactylus eat? Istiodactylus is thought to have fed primarily on fish, dipping into the water in pursuit of its prey.

(6) Quetzalcoatlus

Quetzalcoatlus is a movie star that has appeared in Jurassic World: Dominion. It tries to control the airplane where Owen’s group is in.

So, Is a Quetzalcoatlus bigger than a plane? Quetzalcoatlus had the largest wingspan of all known flying creatures. Its stretched-out wings were about 35 feet wide— that’s over 10 meters! It was the largest creature that could compete with Cessna, the same-size private airplane.

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Now, you might have a clear answer to the question: What was the biggest animal to ever fly? Quetzalcoatlus is absolutely the largest flying animal / dinosaur in the sky.

Quetzalcoatlus eats food similarly to current skimmers, eating fish while in flight and breaking waves with its beak.

Quetzalcoatlus can be a type of terrestrial Pterosaurs, as seen by the fore and hind limb proportions, which are more comparable to current sprinting ungulate mammals than to their smaller cousins.

(7) Tupandactylus

Tupandactylus was a fascinating flying dinosaur that lived in the Early Cretaceous. This flying reptile resided in South America and was first discovered in 2007.

The Tupandactylus is a Pterosaur known for its large head crests. This crest is made up of both bone and soft tissue, and scientists believe it was used by the Tupandactylus to identify other members of its species.

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What did Tupandactylus eat? Some experts believe that it was a fruit-eater, using its powerful jaws to crush and eat the fruits of plants. Others think that Tupandactylus also ate small animals, in addition to fruit.

How big was Tupandactylus? Tupandactylus was a large creature with a wing span of up to 5 meters. The powerful flight muscles could make it take off quickly and fly long distances with little effort.

(8) Rhamphorhynchus

Pterosaurs are a genus of flying reptiles that lived during the Jurassic period. Amongst the toothed species of pterosaur, They are characterized by their long tails and sharp teeth, indicating a diet mainly of fish.

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Fossils are more than just bones; many of them preserve impressions of soft tissues like wing membranes. The largest known specimen of Rhamphorhynchus measures 4.1 feet long, with wings that can stretch out 5.9 feet.

(9) Dimorphodon

Dimorphodon is a prehistoric creature that lived during the early Jurassic period. It gets its name from the two different types of teeth that it has in its mouth. Researchers believe that this dinosaur was not very smart, based on the size of its brain cavity.

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It perhaps mainly inhabited coastal regions and might have had a very varied diet. Scientists suggested it ate insects and fish.

Like most non-avian animals, Dimorphodon was a competent climber, possessing four limbs, strong claws, and a low center of gravity.

(10) Hatzegopteryx

Hatzegopteryx is a genus of pterosaur that lived in the late Maastrichtian period. Not much is known about this pterosaur because very little fossil material exists.

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Not much is known about this creature as only a few fossil remains have been found. However, what has been found indicates that Hatzegopteryx bore many similarities to Quetzalcoatlus, another large pterosaur.

Hatzegopteryx is known from only a few fossil remains, but these indicate that it was one of the largest species in pterosaurs, with an estimated wingspan of 10-12 meters(33 to 39 ft).

Pterosaurs and dinosaurs flying in the sky may not have much connection, but they shared a common ancestor.

Rather than introducing the top 10 flying dinosaurs in this blog, we want to solve your misunderstanding about bird-like dinosaurs. So the next time someone mentions the flying dinosaur or dinosaur with wings, you can use this blog to give a full explanation.

For more information about pterosaurs, please check out the following article:

10 Fun, and In-depth Pterodactyl Facts (with Scenarios!)

Pteranodon VS Pterodactyl: 2 Cool Reptiles’ Differences

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This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. uptoword

    Interesting blog post! I didn’t know the flying dinosaurs were called that.

    1. Chloe Wang

      Glad to hear you like it.

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