One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A fossil flying reptile of the Jurassic and Cretaceous periods, with membranous wings supported by a greatly lengthened fourth finger.
Order Pterosauria, subdivision Archosauria: several families, including pterodactyls, pteranodons, etc.
- ‘The genus Pteranodon includes several species of large pterosaurs from the Cretaceous period in North America.’
- ‘A pterosaur is a flying reptile from the Mesozoic period, the time of the dinosaurs.’
- ‘Now a newly described fossil of a flying reptile called a pterosaur has been found to have a spinosaur tooth stuck in its spine.’
- ‘Over the head of Tyrannosaurus rex glides the skeleton of Pteranodon, a pterosaur or flying reptile.’
- ‘An analysis of more than 100 museum specimens shows that the curvature of claws on pterosaurs ' wing fingers was, on average, comparable to that of perching birds.’
Mid 19th century: from modern Latin Pterosauria (plural), from Greek pteron ‘wing’ + sauros ‘lizard’.
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