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Any of several extinct flying reptiles (order Pterosauria) that flourished during the Jurassic and Cretaceous periods (206–65 million years ago). Pterosaurs hung by their long, slender hind limbs when at rest. They soared and glided on fragile, membranous wings that were attached to the long fourth finger of each forelimb and extended along the flank. The first three fingers were slender, clawed, clutching structures. Pterosaurs had a long, slender beak and a large brain. Ramphorhynchus had strong, sharply pointed teeth, a long tail, and a wingspread of about 3 ft (1 m). It probably obtained food by diving for fish. See alsopterodactyl.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on pterosaur, visit Britannica.com.