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Kidadl Team

SEPTEMBER 20, 2021

19 Dino-mite Preondactylus Facts That Kids Will Love

Preondactylus facts these were small marine dinosaurs that could fly and were found in the Preone valley of Italian Alps

Preondactylus is known to be an extinct genus of pterosaurs, a part of the extinct order of Pterosauria. These wild flying reptiles of Pterosauria were living in the late Triassic period. This reptile, the Preondactylus was a fully developed flier, like most pterosaurs known to have evolved powered flight. The genus Preondactylus of pterosaurs contains one known species called Preondactylus buffarinii. This species of the late Triassic period was discovered at the Forni Dolostone in the Preone valley of the Italian Alps by Nando Buffarini in the year 1982. This area of discovery is located near Udine. The genus Preondactylus was known to have existed around 228 million years ago in the late Triassic period.

The pterosaurs of the order Pterosauria diet either consisted of fish, insects or maybe both but the tooth structure of the species could indicate either diet. The species had one point on each tooth and Preondactylus had single cusp teeth. According to the specimen found, the pterosaur had short wings whose total span was around 18 in (45.7 cm). The pterosaur had relatively long legs. The short wings were a primitive feature for pterosaurs in the wild, however, the member of the genus Preondactylus was a fully developed flier.

This pterosaur was first described and given a name in 1984 by Rupert Wild. The name of the genus refers to Preone (the place where the specimen was found) and the species name refers to Buffarini. The long-tailed pterosaur of the late Triassic period was earlier classified as a new species under Rhamphorhynchidae by Rupert, however, it was found that the form was much more basal. Pterosaur genus Preondactylus was found to be the most basal pterosaur by a cladistic analysis by David Unwin. He used these pterosaurs for the node clade definition of the clade Pterosauria. When Buffarini first discovered the specimen of the dinosaurs in the wild, the thin slab with the fossil was accidentally damaged by him while extracting. While cleaning up, the bones were washed away and lost.

For more relatable content, check out these Hadrosaurus facts and Dreadnoughtus fun facts for kids. 

Preondactylus Interesting Facts

How do you pronounce 'Preondactylus'?

The pronunciation of the genus from the late Triassic period is 'Pre- on-deck-tie-lus'.

What type of dinosaur was a Preondactylus?

It was a long-tailed pterosaur of the order Pterosauria that lived in the area currently known as Italy.

Short wings were considered a primitive system in pterosaurs, but Preondactylus was more developed in flying.

In which geological period did the Preondactylus roam the earth?

Preondactylus was known to be living on the planet in the Late Triassic Period. This information was derived from the specimen found.

When did the Preondactylus become extinct?

They were known to be living some 228 million years ago in the aquatic regions all over the range.

Where did a Preondactylus live?

Preondactylus lived in the regions presently known as Italy. The specimen was first found by Nando Buffarini in the wild area of the Forni Dolostone near Udine in the Preone valley of the Italian Alps. Other specimens have also been found after this specimen near the same region. The second specimen was found in 1984 about 490–650 ft (149.3–198.1 m) deep in the same area of the original find. It was preserved in the gastric pellet of a predatory fish that had probably swallowed the species and then vomited.

What was a Preondactylus's habitat?

They were known to have survived in a marine environment 228 million years ago (the late Triassic period). The rocks in the region the first specimen was found dated back to the Late Carnian to Early Norian Stages of the Late Triassic.

Who did a Preondactylus live with?

No information is available on the company of these dinosaurs. However, being the smallest of the pterosaurs, they probably would have stayed in a group while grounded or in flight to save themselves from the prey in the wild.

How long did a Preondactylus live?

The lifespan of the species is not known.

How did they reproduce?

Reproductive information is not available for these dinosaurs from the Late Triassic Period.

Preondactylus Fun Facts 

What did a Preondactylus look like?

These were incredibly small dinosaurs that made it one of the smallest pterosaurs in the world. The species had short wings whose total span was only 18 in (45.7 cm) in length. It had a long tail and long-jawed head. The dinosaur had single cusp teeth, meaning they had one point. This one point was present on each tooth. The structure was certainly not designed for a complex or varied diet. The tooth structure of the dinosaur could indicate either diet of fish, insects, or both. They had relatively long legs. The short wings were a primitive feature for pterosaurs, but Preondactylus had single species (Preondactylus buffarinii) that was a fully developed flier.

Preondactylus facts are interesting.
*This is a sketch of a herbivorous dinosaur. If you find an image of a Preondactylus, please let us know at [email protected]

How many bones did a Preondactylus have?

The number of bones is not known for the genus.

How did they communicate?

The mode of communication is also not available. They probably communicated by sound, touch, or chemically.

How big was a Preondactylus?

The estimated length of Preondactylus is 11.8 in (30 cm).

The wingspan is 18 in (45.7 cm).

How fast could a Preondactylus move?

They could fly. However, the speed is not known. Due to their small size, they were probably very agile.

How much did a Preondactylus weigh?

The weight is not known.

What were the male and female names of the species?

Males and females are not given different names.

What would you call a baby Preondactylus?

There is not information on the name of the offsprings of Preondactylus.

What did they eat?

The diet either consisted of insects, or fish, or both of them. They were also preyed upon a lot due to their small size.

How aggressive were they?

They were not known to be very aggressive according to various studies available on the species.

Did you know...

Let's learn about the discovery of the specimen by Buffarini. When he first discovered the specimen, he accidentally broke the thin slab of bituminous, dolomitic limestone containing the fossil while extracting it. He reassembled the pieces and cleaned them with water and marl with the help of his wife. However, after cleaning the bone was washed away and lost. Only a negative imprint on the stone was left, so a silicon rubber cast was made to allow for further study. Other than the posterior portions of the skull, most of the skeleton is known. Another specimen was found in the same region, however, at a depth of around 650 ft (198.1 m). It was preserved in the gastric pellet of a predatory fish. The indigestible pieces were vomited by the fish which later fossilized. Another specimen with just a partial skull, lacking the lower jaws was later found.

Is Preondactylus not a dinosaur?

Preondactylus was a pterosaur and not a dinosaur that lived in the same period. It was a type of flying reptile.

Was Preondactylus a piscivore?

Yes, Preondactylus was considered a piscivore for its affinity towards fish and presence in the marine world.  

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly dinosaur facts for everyone to discover! For more relatable content, check out these Crichtonsaurus dinosaur name facts, and Austroraptor dinosaur name facts for kids.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable family of four dinosaurs coloring pages.

Main image by Mark P. Witton.

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