Fun Dorygnathus Facts For Kids

Anusuya Mukherjee
Jan 18, 2023 By Anusuya Mukherjee
Originally Published on Oct 04, 2021
Edited by Katherine Cook
Dorygnathus classification says that this animals was type of flying reptile
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Age: 3-18
Read time: 7.2 Min

The Dorygnathus (meaning 'spear jaw'), belonging to the family of Rhamphorhynchidae and genus Dorygnathus, is a species of bird that used to live in Europe in the early Jurassic period when shallow seas flooded much of the continent, around 180 million years ago.

The Dorygnathus was related to the late Jurassic pterosaur Dorygnathus banthensis theodori 1830, according to David Unwin.

They flew near the surface of the water to catch fish or squid in the water, as they were piscivorous in nature. The discovery of the name was made by Carl Theodori as Ornithocephalus banthensis in 1831 who reassigned the genus Pterodactylus. Dorygnathus scientific name is Dorygnathus banthensis.

They were a contemporary of Campylognathoides in Ohmden and Holzmaden and looked similar to the Rhamphorhynchus. Dorygnathus banthensis authority Wagner, 1860 was the related name of the Dorygnathus. The Dorygnathus name means 'spear jaw'.

If you want to learn many interesting facts about similar animals from history, you may check out these Dimorphodon and Sinopterus.

Dorygnathus Interesting Facts

Was the Dorygnathus a dinosaur?

Dorygnathus classification says that this animals was type of flying reptile rather than a dinosaur but lived during the same period. This animal lived during the early Jurassic period and resided in Europe.

It is a species of pterosaur and their fossil was first discovered in 1860. Their existence has been discovered to start at the start of the Pliensbachian Age, 182 million years ago.

How do you pronounce 'Dorygnathus'?

The exact pronunciation of Dorygnathus is 'doo-ryg-naa-thas'. They were a type of flying reptiles that lived during the early Jurassic period in Europe.

What type of prehistoric flying bird was a Dorygnathus?

The Dorygnathus (Dimorphodon banthensis) was a Ptesaurs, also commonly called Pterodactyl which is used for reptiles with wing fingers. They belong to the taxonomic order Pterosauria. They were from the Mesozoic period which is from the late Triassic period to the end of the Cretaceous period which was around 228-66 million years ago.

In which geological period did the Dorygnathus live?

Dorygnathus was an early Jurassic pterosaur Dorygnathus and this reptile lived in Europe during the early period which can be counted as 180 million years ago. During the early Jurassic, over 3o skeletons and dozens of isolated bones have been found.

Dorygnathus skeletons are still found in museums in the early Jurassic (Toarcian) and maybe in the Natural History Museum.

When did the Dorygnathus become extinct?

Dorygnathus facts include information that the Dorygnathus specimen went extinct about 180 million years ago. The publication was made by Kevin Padian. The specimens of this genus Pterodactyloidea and the Rhamphorhynchus represent a similar lineage of the early Jurassic period in Europe. This information was collected as the data source for identification.

Where did a Dorygnathus live?

The Dorygnathus belongs to the genus pterosaur that used to live in Europe and had a range from the early Jurassic in lower Saxony in Germany to Nancy, France. They are related to the late Jurassic pterosaur Rhamphorhynchus.

Specimens of this species have also been collected Germany as well as France and they lived alongside the same species of early pterosaur Campylognathoides. They hunted across seas that were filled with small prey like fish, ammonites, other cephalopods, and even marine reptiles.

What was a Dorygnathus' habitat?

The body features of a Dorygnathus explain that they lived during the period of early Jurassic, about 180 million years ago. They resided in Europe in the early times referred to as the early Jurassic period. Carroll R. L. (1988) discovered and described the fossil in the same place and the preserved fossils are now in a museum.

Who did a Dorygnathus live with?

The Dorygnathus is a type of specimen of the Pterosaur group known as the basal rhamphorhynchoids, which also includes Rhamphorhynchus. Their remains are specimens including complete articulated skeletons. They lived in groups, and it is also believed that at times they were know to form colonies. However they mostly lived alone.

How long did a Dorygnathus live?

The description of their lifespan has not been discovered by scientists yet.

How did they reproduce?

As revealed by Padian, these extinct animals had eight cervical vertebrae, 14 dorsal vertebrae, three to four sacral vertebrae, and 27-28 caudal vertebrae.

Dorygnathus Fun Facts

What did a Dorygnathus look like?

Pterosaurs were related to the late Jurassic era. They had wings that were relatively small in size, around 3 ft (1 m) and they had a small triangular sternum.

The eye sockets of Pterosaurs were the largest openings in their skulls. The features of the jaw of these specimens were prominently found at the front snout and the straightened teeth lined the back.

Heterodonty, a condition when there are variable teeth along the tooth row, is limited and rare in current reptiles but common in dinosaurs and primitive Pterosaurs.

They are identified on the basis of their teeth, consisting of four maxillary teeth and three or four anterior dentary teeth. The shape of the skull was pointed and elongated and on the rather straight top of the skull or snout, no bony crest was visible.

In the lower part, the first three pairs of teeth were very large in size and the total number of teeth was 44. These species of wild birds were extremely huge in length which is considerably beyond the lower and upper margins of the head.

They belonged to the family Pterosauria.

The average Dorygnathus size included a relatively small triangular sternum that was located at the place where its flight muscles were attached. They were not so rare and the pointed skull was small in size.

This description is given by paleontology and the research was made accordingly. The hindlimb's fifth digit of Dorygnathus was unusually long and oriented to the side.

How many bones did a Dorygnathus have?

Over 30 skeletons and dozens of isolated bones were extracted from the early Jurassic period and were found in the Liassic pterosaur Dorygnathus of the family Pterosauria.

In the lower part of the specimen, the first three pairs of teeth are very large in size and the total number of teeth is 44, the fifth digit on the hindlimbs of Dorygnathus was unusually long and oriented to the side, according to research done on the fossil.

How did they communicate?

The exact method of their communication is not mentioned by Andres and some research made in 2001 by other paleontology scientists on the Dorygnathus skeleton.

How big was a Dorygnathus?

Their total body length has not been discovered yet, but their wingspan was around 4.9 ft (1.5 m). They may have had bigger wings than a bald eagle.

How fast could a Dorygnathus move?

They could fly at a fast speed considering their great wingspan. However, their definite speed is unknown. They may have had a similar or greater flight speed as that of the Northern gannet.

How much did a Dorygnathus weigh?

Their exact weight is not defined yet, but they have been believed to have had similar weight to emu birds.

What were the male and female names of the species?

As per the data collected, there are no separate names for male and female Dorygnathus. They are called male Dorygnathus and female Dorygnathus. They have a small triangular sternum.

What would you call a baby Dorygnathus?

A baby Dorygnathus is simply known as a young Dorygnathus.

What did they eat?

They fed on small fishes like anchovies, and many times fed on crunchy things.

How aggressive were they?

They were not too aggressive but fed on small fishes, other small dinosaurs, and reptiles. They had a strong jaw that had fangs to help them catch food, which scientists have discovered by studying the skull of this animal. Dorygnathus gomphotherium was a relative of their non-similar species. There is no information regarding their predators.

Did you know...

Dorygnathus is a species of the Pterosaur in the basal rhamphorhynchoid group, which also includes Rhamphorhynchus.

The eye sockets of Pterosaurs were the largest openings in their skulls which made the Dorygnathus related to the Late Jurassic pterosaur Dorygnathus banthensis theodori 1830, according to David Unwin and has a fragmented jaw structure. Padian discovered in 2008 that they had eight cervical vertebrae, 14 dorsal vertebrae, three to four sacral vertebrae, and 27-28 caudal vertebrae.

The data revealed that a discovery was made in 1971 from a partial skeleton from Bavaria.

Are Dorygnathus related to modern birds?

According to David Unwin, the Dorygnathus is related to the late Jurassic pterosaur. Dorygnathus banthensis authority Wagner, 1860 was the related name of the Dorygnathus, also have synonyms like Dimorphodon banthensis, Posidonia shale more commonly referred to as Holzmaden as per the data collected.

What is the wingspan of the Dorygnathus?

The length of wing fingers of Pterosaurs is 59-67 in (149.86-170.18 cm), Posidonia shale more commonly referred to as Holzmaden. According to the data their jaws were equipped with large fangs for catching fish.

D. mistelgauensis was collected by the sources and the data revealed that the discovery was made by the wild in 1971 from a partial skeleton from Bavaria. They looked similar to Rhamphorhynchus and were a contemporary of Campylognathoides in Holzmaden and Ohmden. There is no correct information regarding their flying range.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly prehistoric animal facts for everyone to discover! For more relatable content, check out these Navajodactylus fun facts and Nemicolopterus facts for kids.

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

Second image by Tim Evanson

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Written by Anusuya Mukherjee

Bachelor of Arts and Law specializing in Political Science and Intellectual Property Rights

Anusuya Mukherjee picture

Anusuya MukherjeeBachelor of Arts and Law specializing in Political Science and Intellectual Property Rights

With a wealth of international experience spanning Europe, Africa, North America, and the Middle East, Anusuya brings a unique perspective to her work as a Content Assistant and Content Updating Coordinator. She holds a law degree from India and has practiced law in India and Kuwait. Anusuya is a fan of rap music and enjoys a good cup of coffee in her free time. Currently, she is working on her novel, "Mr. Ivory Merchant".

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