Fun Pteranodon Facts For Kids

Ogrima Mukherjee
Oct 20, 2022 By Ogrima Mukherjee
Originally Published on Nov 02, 2021
Edited by Monisha Kochhar
Fact-checked by Gowri Rao
Pteradon facts include that over 1,000 specimens have been discovered in North America.

The Pteranodon longiceps or P. longiceps species remains were discovered and named by O. C. Marsh in 1876. These pterosaur dinosaurs live during the Early Campian stage of the Late Cretaceous period around 80 million years ago.

The skeleton fossils of this flying pterosaur were discovered in Niobrara Formation and Pierre Shale Formation in North America. It had a long neck and the beak was long, narrow, and lacked teeth; adapted to its piscivorous diet consisting of fish.

Its front limb and feet had fingers at the end of the wing. The membrane wing lacked feathers and was supported by thin, hollow bones. The pterosaur group members like P. longiceps are not related to modern birds.

The discovered specimens consist of a range of juvenile, male, and female. It did not face any threats of extinction by a terrestrial dinosaur species.

If you like reading about Pteranodon, also check out interesting dinosaur facts about Pterodactyl and Quetzalcoatlus.

Pteranodon Interesting Facts

Was the Pteranodon a dinosaur?

No, P. longiceps was not a dinosaur. It was a reptile that belonged to a group of flying reptiles, collectively known as pterosaurs.

How do you pronounce 'Pteranodon'?

Pteranodon pronunciation is 'ter-ra-no-don'. The letter 'P' is silent in other names like Pterosaurs and Pterodactyl too.

What type of prehistoric flying bird was a Pteranodon?

P. longiceps are considered Pterodactyloids, belonging to the extinct Pteranodontidae family. Pteranodon doesn't exist anymore and its family is extinct too.

In which geological period did the Pteranodon live?

Pteranodon lived in the Late Cretaceous period or Upper Cretaceous period 145-66 million years ago. It lived for around 4 million years during the Late Coniacian and Early Campian stages of the geological period.

When did the Pteranodon become extinct?

P. longiceps became extinct at the same time as most dinosaurs. Pterodactylus genus became extinct at the end of the Cretaceous period, 66 million years ago, when a large comet or meteor hit the earth. The mass extinction of dinosaurs and pterosaurs, along with other living beings of the time, was named Cretaceous-Paleogene mass extinction event.

Where did a Pteranodon live?

Pteranodon lived in North America. Its fossils specimens were found in the Niobrara Formation and Pierre Shale Formation in  Kansas, Alabama, Nebraska, Wyoming, and South Dakota.

What was a Pteranodon's habitat?

The Pteranodon lived near the ocean or sea. The area where their fossils were found was covered by a large inland sea. Considering their diet they nested and lived on islands, shores, and offshore rookeries.

Who did a Pteranodon live with?

Pteranodon lived in mixed groups of juveniles and adults. The juveniles were probably more gregarious than the adults. The adults could fly farther in search of food and other requirements. Scientists have not been able to gather more information on the subject.

How long did a Pteranodon live?

The exact age or life span of the Pterodactyl is unknown. The discovered Pteranodon fossil specimens have juveniles, males, and females. Certain physical characteristics help in estimating the age of the specimen and the sex during its life stages.

How did they reproduce?

Pteranodon laid eggs like dinosaurs. They had a particular breeding season and were oviparous. They laid eggs after internal fertilization and incubated them for a particular incubation period, after which the young hatchlings break out of the eggs. Pteranodon might have been polygynous. The males did not help in rearing the young.

Pteranodon Fun Facts

What did a Pteranodon look like?

Pteranodon longiceps species had a large wingspan, and its wings were made of membrane, thin front limbs and feet ended with three fingers. The finger bone was longer than the metacarpal bone.

It had a long toothless beak and small brain and eye cavities. The adults had a skull crest made of bone, which was large and prominent on males and smaller on females and juveniles. Its physical characteristics and traits were similar to that of other pterosaurs but had a larger size in comparison.

The Pteranodon beak lacked teeth and was used to catch fish from the ocean.

How many bones did a Pteranodon have?

Although many partial fossils of Pteranodon longiceps species have been found, there is no estimate for the total number of bones in a Pteranodon. Its bones which thin and hollow, which helped it fly. The bones were 0.07 in (1 mm) thick and had holes, which could have held importance in respiration.

How did they communicate?

Scientists believe that the crests of this reptile held importance during mating displays. They might also perform flight displays before mating. P. longiceps sound consists of continuous shrill calls as well as slightly deeper, discontinuous groans. The vocalizations by these flying reptiles could hold importance in mating rituals, warning enemies, and general communication.

How big was a Pteranodon?

Genus Pteranodon had some of the largest flying animals in the natural history of all time. Specimens were initially placed in the same genus as Pterodactylus, but once some skulls were discovered it was classified as a separate genus.

If compared Pteranodon vs Pterodactyl, Pteranodon was much larger in size compared to Pterodactylus pterosaurs. Its wingspan was 23 ft (7 m) which rivaled the wingspan of some of the largest known seabirds like albatross.

How fast could a Pteranodon move?

Pteranodon was a glider like modern-day sea birds. It practiced rapid bursts of flapping and active flight occasionally. Pteranodon pterosaurs could fly at speeds 67 mph (107.8 kph) and glide at 56 mph (90.1 kph). For terrestrial movement, Pteranodon is considered quadrupeds, using both front and hind limbs to move on land.

How much did a Pteranodon weigh?

The Pteranodon genus has many species of differing weight. The average range for Pteranodon weight is 44-205 lb (20-93 kg). Considering its size, its weight was quite light thanks to the skeleton made of hollow bones.

What were the male and female names of the species?

The male and female names of the genus or species Pteranodon longiceps are not sex-specific. The species of this genus like P. longiceps exhibited sexual dimorphism.

In size, the males were almost 1.5 times larger. Adult males also had a very prominent and large skull crest compared to the small ones found on females and juveniles. These physical markers made it easy for scientists to distinguish between sexes using just the skeleton remains of the pterosaur species.

What would you call a baby Pteranodon?

The baby Pteranodon pterosaurs do not have a particular name. The young reptile pterosaurs are generally referred to as babies, immatures, and juveniles.

What did they eat?

The Pteranodon reptile had a carnivorous diet that mainly consists of fish. It dives into the water to catch the fish in its toothless beak. An animal whose diet mainly consists of fish is called a piscivore.

How aggressive were they?

Pteranodon was aggressive over territory and social hierarchy. Their crests were important in establishing social hierarchy. Bigger the crest, the more dominant the male. The dominant male of the group always got larger territories and more female Pteranodon to mate with.

Did you know...

Even though pterosaurs are primitive flying animals that live many million years ago, they are not related to modern birds. Modern birds are closer in relation to terrestrial dinosaurs like Ornithomimus, which is a feathered dinosaur.

The name Pteranodon, given by O. C. Marsh, means 'wing without tooth', referring to its distinctly toothless beak.

Among pterosaurs, Pterodactylus was the first one to be discovered.

The largest pterosaurs are Quetzalcoatlus and Pteranodon.

Are Pterodactyls and Pteranodons the same?

No, Pterodactyls and Pteranodons are not the same. They are different genera of Pterosaurs.

If Pterodactyl vs Pteranodon is compared, the former is a genus that includes winged reptiles with teeth and lived during the Late Jurassic era of the Mesozoic era and fed on fish and small animals. Pteranodon is a genus of flying reptiles that lack teeth and lived in the Late Cretaceous era of the Mesozoic era.

Pteranodon feeds on fishes, mollusks, crabs, and insects. The Pterodactylus fossil was the first fossil found among Pterosaurs and the Pteranodon fossil was found much later.

The Pteranodon wings and body are larger in size and the males are larger than the females. The Pteranodon skull crest is bone while the crest in Pterodactylus is made of soft tissue.

How fast can a Pteranodon fly?

Pteranodon did not practice active flying very often. While flying over the ocean it would mostly glide using its large wings and relied on the drafts to propel itself in the desired direction. Pteranodon pterosaurs could fly at speeds 67 mph (107.8 kph) and glide at 56 mph (90.1 kph).

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly prehistoric animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other creatures from our Tupuxuara facts and Thalassomedon facts for kids.

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

Second image by Nobu Tamura.

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Written by Ogrima Mukherjee

Bachelor of Technology specializing in Computer Science

Ogrima Mukherjee picture

Ogrima MukherjeeBachelor of Technology specializing in Computer Science

Ogrima brings a wealth of knowledge and skills to her craft. With a Bachelor's degree in Computer Science from GITAM University, she possesses a strong foundation in technology. However, her keen interest in writing has allowed her to leverage her skills and passion to create high-quality content in various niches. Ogrima's extensive experience in content writing and social media copywriting showcases her versatility and adaptability as a writer. Her ability to create engaging and well-researched articles tailored specifically for children sets her apart.

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Fact-checked by Gowri Rao

Bachelor of Arts specializing in Economics

Gowri Rao picture

Gowri RaoBachelor of Arts specializing in Economics

With a bachelor's degree in Economics from Krea University, Gowri is a highly skilled data analyst and an expert in regression and causation modeling. Her interests in economic trends, finance, and investment research complement her professional expertise. In addition to her professional pursuits, Gowri enjoys swimming, running, and playing the drums, and she is also a talented tutor.

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