One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1A pterosaur of the late Jurassic period, with a long slender head and neck and a very short tail.
Family Pterodactylidae, order Pterosauria: several genera, including Pterodactylus
- ‘Earlier, Witmer and others had performed a similar study on fossils of the flying reptiles called pterodactyls, which are not related to Archaeopteryx.’
- ‘Other anatomical features, such as attachment points for powerful neck muscles, support the idea that giant pterodactyls once plowed the waters for food.’
- 1.1 (in general use) any pterosaur.
- ‘Birds, close cousins of pterodactyls, are believed to have evolved from theropod dinosaurs about 150 million years ago.’
- ‘I decided on a pterodactyl, a dinosaur with a distinct advantage over most dinosaurs: the ability to fly like an eagle.’
- ‘Based on widely accepted criteria, pterodactyls and other pterosaurs are not dinosaurs.’
- ‘Similarly, there's no creationist reason why the pterodactyls shouldn't have a fur-like covering - yet no evolutionist believes that pterodactyls evolved into mammals.’
Early 19th century: from modern Latin Pterodactylus (genus name), from Greek pteron ‘wing’ + daktulos ‘finger’.
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