Flying Dinosaur-like Reptiles

It is essential to clarify that the creatures believed to be “flying dinosaurs” are not dinosaurs. While feathered dinosaurs existed, and there are avian dinosaurs, these were a different type of reptile, called pterosaurs, that lived throughout the times when dinosaurs were active.

Flying Dinosaur-like Reptiles

List of the Different Types of Prehistoric Flying Reptiles

1. Anhanguera blittersdorffi

Wingspan: 13-15 ft

Anhanguera lived in the Early Cretaceous period. Its dentition indicates that it fed on fish, and fossil records suggest it lived in modern Brazil.

2. Dimorphodon macronyx

Wingspan: 3-4 ft

A European pterosaur that lived in the Jurassic period, Dimorphodon is unique for having two different types of teeth in its jaws – a rarity among reptiles. Its name even means  “two-form tooth.”

3. Dsungaripterus weii

Wingspan: 13-16 ft

Dsungaripterus had claws on its wings that helped it get around. Its flight pattern appears unsteady, with excessive flapping and awkward landings.

4. Haopterus gracilis

Wingspan: 4-5 ft

A Chinese pterosaur, Haopterus, most likely walked with the help of claws on its forelimbs. Fossil records indicate a piscivorous diet, i.e., primarily fed on fish.

5. Hatzegopteryx thambema

Wingspan: 15-20 ft

A large winged reptile, Hatzegopteryx was an inhabitant of Hațeg Island in the prehistoric Tethys Sea. It was likely an apex predator there, feeding on iguanodontids and even smaller titanosaurs.

6.Moganopterus zhuiana

Wingspan: 10-11 ft

An Early Cretaceous pterosaur from China, Moganopterus was named after the legendary sword couple Gan Jiang and Mo Ye, referring to its sharp, blade-like jaws.

7. Nyctosaurus gracilis

Wingspan: 6-9 ft

Like modern-day albatrosses, Nyctosaurus appears capable of long-distance flight over large water bodies. A further indication of this behavior comes from where it lived, the Niobrara Formation of the mid-western US, which was a shallow sea in the Late Cretaceous period.

8. Ornithocheirus simus

Wingspan: 15-20 ft

Identified from a few bone fragments in Morocco and the UK, Ornithocheirus remains an enigma for paleontologists as it has been difficult to ascertain its characteristics due to a lack of fossils.

9. Pteranodon longiceps

Wingspan: 12-21 ft

Arguably the most famous pterosaur, Pteranodon is probably the creature most people immediately think of when thinking about “flying dinosaurs.” A resident of what would eventually become North America, over 1,200 fossilized specimens have been unearthed – most of any prehistoric flying reptile.

10. Pterodactylus antiquus

Wingspan: 3-3.5 ft

The first pterosaur ever discovered, Pterodactylus was a diurnal species that hunted small animals. It was a generalist feeder that consumed vertebrates and invertebrates.

11. Pterodaustro guinazui

Wingspan: 9-10 ft

Pterodaustro was capable of both flying and swimming. It fed on crustaceans by filter feeding with its beak while swimming.

12. Quetzalcoatlus northropi

Wingspan: 36-39 ft

The largest pterosaur discovered so far, Quetzalcoatlus was named after the Aztec feathered serpent god Quetzalcoatl. It is notable for its vast wingspan, making it the biggest winged creature ever.

13. Rhamphorhynchus longicaudus

Wingspan: 3.5-6.5 ft

Rhamphorhynchus most likely lived in the landmass that would eventually become modern-day Europe, as its teeth fragments have been found in England, Germany, Portugal, Spain, and even Tanzania. Its teeth indicate that it fed primarily on fish.

14. Tapejara wellnhoferi

Wingspan: 4-4.3 ft

A small Brazilian pterosaur, Tapejara used to be active for short periods during the day. Its name comes from the Tupi language, roughly translating to “the lord of the ways.”

15. Tupandactylus imperator

Wingspan: 9.8-13.1 ft

Named after the thunder god of the Tupi people of Brazil, Tupandactylus was a terrestrial predator, using the claws on its wings to move about. However, it could fly over short distances to avoid predation.