That being said it is still a lot of fun to point out some of the more extreme monstrosities!
Pterosaurs have been popular in pop culture as long as humans have known about them. I find it funny how so often they are portrayed usually even less accurately than dinosaurs. Pterosaurs are known for being able to fly but beyond that (anatomy, physical ability) a lot of people don't know much about them. For instance a pterosaur, even one of the largest ones (which were about the size of a small plane) couldn't lift something the size of a human. They were too light and their feet couldn't grasp like an bird of prey's.
|See? The thumb is free and the other four fingers form the wing! Bats are cool mammals.|
Pterosaur wings are a little different. A pterosaur's wing is supported by just one long finger. There are three more but they are small, free, and probably were used for walking and/or climbing depending on the specific pterosaur.
|Three free fingers and one finger supports the wing.|
Sometimes pterosaurs are given teeth that they wouldn't have had in life. Now keep in mind there were many pterosaurs out there that DID have teeth. Big ones, too sometimes. However, the most popular pterosaur in pop culture, called Pteranodon, did not. Its name even means "toothless wing".
|Pteranodon longiceps skeleton. This is the species most people are familiar with but may not know the actual name of.|
So instead of leaving Pteranodon the way it is (which is plenty cool) or just using a different kind of pterosaur that actually had teeth, movie makers, toy designers and other such artists sometimes instead decide to just give poor Petrie a big ol' set of pearly whites.
|Pteranodon from the movie, Jurassic Park 3 with a set of sharp chompers.|
Oh and you don't even want to KNOW some of the toys of pterosaurs that they have come up with...actually you totally do its hilarious and awesome.
|Probably supposed to be Pteranodon but look at that long tail!|
|Another Pteranodon with teeth AND a long tail.|
|Pterosaurs with the wings of bats again.|
Which brings us to these gems I picked up at a wildlife center gift store. These toys have been around forever. Foam plane-shaped toys with the plastic piece you stick on the front then toss and they glide. They come as planes, birds and...horribly ugly pterosaurs. There were four different ones. Pteranodon at least had the head right. Rhamphoryncus and Dimorphodon looked more or less the same from the outside packaging (both pretty wrong) and then we have Pterodactylus which looked like the artist just gave up and decided to draw a zombie dragon that would be more at home in the cover art of a metal album than in the Jurassic.
|I bought these two because Dimorphodon is my favorite pterosaur and the Pterodactylus was just so strange-looking. I actually want to go back and buy the other two and make a hanging mobile with them.|
They do glide pretty well though. My trusty
For more on Skeletal pterosaurs and dinosaurs check out my friend Marc's post on our friend-blog. (is friend-blog a real phrase?...eh well I just used it) So all these ugly pterosaurs inspired me. I got thinking what if they are just a modern kind of fantasy creature? You know like the ones from ancient mythology that are made up of parts of different animals like the centaur, griffin or cockatrice? Then I got my drawing pad out and speed-painted the modern monster. Behold the TERRORDACTILE!
|I also decided to give it sonic brain-scrambling screeching powers. Deal with it.|
This past week I have been going through a pterosaur phase if you hadn't noticed from this post and the latest prehistoric animal of the week. It's mostly because I finally got around to buying paleongologist and friend of the site's, Mark Witton's new book which is appropriately named PTEROSAURS. I haven't finished reading the whole thing yet but so far I like it and the illustrations are great too. You can get one here.
That's all for today! Tune in Sunday for another prehistoric animal of the week!