The key difference between Pterodactyl and Pteranodon is that Pterodactyl is a genus that includes winged reptiles with teeth, while Pteranodon is a genus that includes winged reptiles without teeth
Pterodactyl and Pteranodon are two genera of Pterosaur. Pterosaur includes flying reptiles of the extinct clade Pterosauria. They existed in the Mesozoic era, most probably from the late Triassic to the end of the Cretaceous periods, approximately 228 to 66 million years ago. Pterosaurs were capable of aerial locomotion by powered flight. Their wings were made by the membrane of skin, muscles and other tissues. Pterosaurs are often referred to as “flying dinosaurs” by popular media though they are not dinosaurs. Furthermore, Pterosaurs had different lifestyles. Most of them were fish eaters, and they reproduced through eggs.
1. Overview and Key Difference
2. What is Pterodactyl
3. What is Pteranodon
4. Similarities – Pterodactyl and Pteranodon
5. Pterodactyl vs Pteranodon in Tabular Form
6. Summary – Pterodactyl vs Pteranodon
What is Pterodactyl?
Pterodactyl is a genus of Pterosaur that included winged reptiles with teeth. It is an extinct genus of Pterosaurs. It contains only one species: Pterodactyl usantiquus. This species was the first Pterosaurs to be named and identified as flying reptiles. Fossils of this genus were found in the Solnhofen limestone of Bavaria, Germany. These fossil remains date back to the late Jurassic period, about 150.8 to 148.5 million years. Moreover, it was found that they were carnivores and fed on a variety of invertebrates and vertebrates.
Based on fossil remain evidence, Pterodactyl usantiquus was a relatively small pterosaur, with an estimated adult wingspan of 1.04 meters. Their adult skull was long, thin and had 90 narrow, conical teeth. Pterodactyl, like their related pterosaurs, had a crest on its skull composed of mainly soft tissues. Pterodactyl growth pattern is very similar to modern crocodiles rather than birds. They most likely walked on four legs when they were on land. Further, based on the size, shape, and arrangement of teeth, Pterodactyl has been recognized as carnivores who fed on small animals.
What is Pteranodon?
Pteranodon is a genus of Pterosaur that included winged reptiles without teeth. They were some of the largest known flying reptiles of Pterosaurs. They lived during the late Cretaceous geological period. Their fossils were found in present-day North America: Kansas, Alabama, Nebraska, Wyoming, and South Dakota. Additionally, the fossil remains of Pteranodon have been found than any other pterosaur, with about 1,200 specimens.
Pteranodon specimens can be divided into two distinct size classes. The smaller size class have small, rounded head crests and very wide pelvic canals. The smaller size class represents the adult females. Therefore, the wider pelvic canal probably allowed them to lay eggs. The larger size class represents the males, with narrow hips and very large crests. Pteranodon had toothless beaks, which is very similar to birds. The most distinct feature is their cranial crest that consisted of skull bones. It projects upwards and backwards from the skull. The size and shape of the crest vary due to a number of factors such as age, sex, and species. Pteranodon wingspan is over 7 meters. The diet of Pteranodon mainly consisted of fish.
What are the Similarities Between Pterodactyl and Pteranodon?
- Pterodactyl and Pteranodon are two genera of Pterosaur.
- Both are winged reptiles.
- They lived in the Mesozoic era.
- They are both extinct genera.
- Both had skull crest.
- Neither Pterodactyl nor Pteranodon had feathers.
What is the Difference Between Pterodactyl and Pteranodon?
Pterodactyl is a genus that includes winged reptiles with teeth. On the other hand, Pteranodon is a genus that includes winged reptiles without teeth. So, this is the key difference between Pterodactyl and Pteranodon. Moreover, Pterodactyl lived in the late Jurassic period of the Mesozoic era, while Pteranodon lived in the late Cretaceous period of the Mesozoic era.
The following infographic compiles the differences between Pterodactyl and Pteranodon in tabular form.
Summary – Pterodactyl vs Pteranodon
Pterosaurs are winged reptiles that became extinct 66 million years ago. They used to live in the Mesozoic, era most probably from the late Triassic to the end of the Cretaceous periods. There are at least 130 valid pterosaur genera. Pterodactyl and Pteranodon are two genera of Pterosaur. Pterodactyl genus consisted of winged reptiles with teeth. Pteranodon genus consisted of winged reptiles without teeth. Thus, this is the key difference between Pterodactyl and Pteranodon.
1. Castro, Joseph. “Pterodactyl, Pteranodon & Other Flying ‘Dinosaurs’.” LiveScience, Purch, 18 Mar. 2016.
2. “Pteranodon.” Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc.