Spanning more than 160 million years across the fossil record, Pterosaurs were a diverse group of flying reptiles that dominated the skies of the Mesozoic Era. Juveniles of some species were as small as a bat or a modern bird, and others, such as Quetzalcoatlus, were the size of a giraffe with a wingspan of 33ft (10m) when fully-grown. Fossil evidence shows that at least some pterosaur species grew furlike "pycnofibers," or bristles, perhaps suggesting that these creatures were warm-blooded.
This specimen is an individual Pterosaur tooth. It comes from the Kem Kem beds of Morocco and is associated with Coloborhynchus, a Pterosaur from the Early Cretaceous with an estimated wingspan of 5m (15ft).
The tooth comes inside an acrylic specimen jar in one of our classic, glass-topped riker display cases. The case measures 4 1/2" x 3 1/2". A small information card is also enclosed.
More About Pterosaurs
"One of these strange animals, whose appearance would be frightful did they occur alive at the present day, may have been of the size of a thrush."
~ Georges Cuvier Théorie de la terre / Essay on the Theory of the Earth (1821)
By the Late Jurassic Period, birds and pterosaurs overlapped extensively in many ecosystems. Some interpret this to suggest niche partitioning limited direct competition, while other scientists speculate that the decline of smaller pterosaurs coincided with a radiation of comparably sized birds during that interval which could indicate direct competition. This may also explain the larger body sizes seen among Pterosaurs of the Late Cretaceous, a change that may have doomed pterosaurs to extinction.
Broadly speaking, pterosaurs had proportionately large, elongated heads and modified hand bones that supported membranous wings attaching to the sides of their bodies and to their legs. Extensive air pockets made their large skulls lighter, and their skeletons in general - like those of birds - had hollow, thin-walled bones.