The fossil record suggests that most dinosaurs lived during the Mesozoic Era, this was around sixty-five to two hundred and thirty million years ago. They varied in size a great deal, from small chicken like species, to huge animals there were as big as a contemporary house. Their diet was also exceptionally diverse, many were plant eaters, though some weremeat-eating creatures. At the end of the cretaceous period, they became extinct for reasons that are still not fully understood. There were also a large number of flying dinosaurs that existed at various times though we usually think of them as being land dwelling animals.
The list of dinosaurs that had the ability to fly is extremely long. Cearadactylus, Batrachognathus, Anurognathus, Ctenochasma , Dsungaripterus, Anhanguera, Quetzalcoatlus, Ornithocheirus, Pteranodon, Gnathosaurus, Pterodaustro, Ornithodesmus, Pterodactylus, and Tropeognathus are those dinosaurs who afre capable of flying.
Approximately, Anurognathus lived one hundred and forty five million years ago. Up until these days, there has only been a single skeleton of this flying dinosaur located, this was in Bavaria, Germany. Sadly, it is theorized that the fossil record gives us a knowledge of less than a single percent of all the dinosaurs that once roamed the earth.
Anurognathus was a small dinosaur, its body was about nine centimeters long, though it had a wingspan of fifty centimeters. It’s diet mostly consisted of insects such as lacewings and damselflies. Its deep and short skull had teeth that were needle like.
Batrachognathus is thought to had lived during the late Jurassic period, it is a specie that was discovered in modern day Kazakhstan. It has been classified as belonging to the genus rhamphorhynchoid pterosaur. Apart from the fact that its upper jaw contained twenty four teeth, very little is known about this aviator.
The most famous of all the flying dinosaurs is Pterodactylus. In 1784, an Italian naturalist named Cosm Alessandro Collino discovered the first remains of Pterodactylus in Bavaria though since then fossils have also been found throughout Africa and Europe. Its wingspan expanded from half a meter up to two and a half meters. It mostly inhabited lake-shores therefore the typical diet of Pterodactylus was fish and small rodents. We know that externally it has keratinous ridges and internally its body had collagen fibers as many fossils of this species have been found.
Quetzalcoatlus was another aviator dinosaur of note. Quetzalcoatl was named after the Aztec serpent god as this specie was a very large pterosaur, weighing in at around one hundred and thirty five kilograms. In fact, it is believed that Quetzalcoatlus was the largest ever flying animal. It usually nested close to fresh water ponds and also had a big brain and large eyes. Douglas A Lawson discovered the first fossilized remains of Quetzalcoatlus in Texas in the year 1971.
Still, there is a lot of mystery about flying dinosaurs. Whether or not modern day birds evolved from these species is still a matter that is open to debate. Our knowledge of this subject will continue to grow as new fossils are being found every year.