Temporal range: Late Cretaceous
|A restoration of Pteranodon longiceps|
| †Pteranodon longiceps|
Pteranodon is a genus of pterosaurs, prehistoric flying reptiles. It measured about 1.8 metres (six feet) long with a wingspan of 7.5 m (25 feet), and lived during the late Cretaceous period. It ate fishes,squid and other small sea animals and captured them with its long beak. It usually gets mistaken for pteradactyl, even though pteradactyl's proper name is Pterodactylus, a reptile that was much smaller and lived in the Late Jurassic - earlier than Pteranodon did, and on the territory of modern-day Europe rather than North America instead.
Pteranodon was notable for its skull crest. The crest has many blood vessels in it, found especially in male skeletons. It is belived that these were used as mating displays, in a similar fashion to how a peacock uses its tail feathers. Finds indicate that Pteranodon may have gathered in large rookeries during mating season. It is likely that males with bigger and brighter crests would be more appealing to the females.
Pteranodon was notable for its skull crest. These may have been used as mating displays, or it might have acted as a rudder, or perhaps both. It has been suggested that males of the species bore larger crests, but with fossil animals it is often difficult to tell whether differences in crest shape reflect different sexes or different species.
A number of species of Pteranodon have been named, including Pteranodon ingens, P. longiceps, and P. sternbergi.
In the media
Pteranodon appears in many movies, TV shows and video games. It has become one of the most popular pterosaurs. It has appeared in the following media (among others):
- A flock of Pteranodons attack the main characters in Jurassic Park III. Unlike the real animal, they are depicted with teeth.
- Another flock of female Pteranodon appear in Jurassic World.
- It is also seen in The Lost World novel by Arthur Conan Doyle
- One of the main characters of the movie We're Back! A Dinosaur's Story is a purple female Pteranodon named Elsa. However, she is referred to as a pterodactyl.
- It can be created in the video game Jurassic Park Park Builder.
- One of the main characters of the Land Before Time movies is a Pteranodon named Petrie.
- Mr. and Mrs. Pteranodon, Tiny, Shiny and Don are some of the characters from Dinosaur Train.
- Several Pteranodons appear in the TV series Primeval and Primeval: New World.
- In Hasbro's Transformers, the Autobot Swoop transforms into a mechanical pteranodon. Some of the cybertronian so transform themselves into Pteranodon: Graphy, Terrosaur, and Brimstone.
- It appears in the Walking with Dinosaurs special: Land of Giants.