The Ultimate Pterodactyl Quiz
In traditional scientific writing, as well as science fiction, pterodactyls were portrayed as ugly and evil, bat-like creatures. Yet new scientific evidence has unearthed some startling facts about pterodactyls. Turns out they may not have been as ugly or as evil as we once thought. Take this quiz to consider the pterodactyl in a new light.start quiz
Question 1 of 20
When were pterodactyl fossils first found?
... Pterodactyl fossils were first found in the 1700s in a limestone quarry in Bavaria, Germany. More recently, scientists have discovered well preserved pterodactyl fossils in almost a dozen locations across the United States.
Question 2 of 20
When did pterodactyls live?
... Pterodactyls lived during the Mesozoic era, some 240 million years ago.
Question 3 of 20
What periods make up the Mesozoic era?
... The Mesozoic era is made up of three periods: the Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous periods.
Question 4 of 20
What group of flying animals did the pterodactyl belong to?
... The pterodactyl belonged to the pterosaurs group of flying animals. There were two branches of this group: the rhamphorhynchoids and the pterodactyls.
Question 5 of 20
Which pterosaurs sub group was the largest?
... Although the rhamphorhynchoids originated first, they were soon dwarfed in size by the pterosaurs, which were much larger.
Question 6 of 20
What was the wingspan of the largest-ever pterodactyl?
... The largest-ever pterodactyl, called the Quetzalcoatlus after the Aztec god, had a wingspan of over 40 feet (12 meters).
Question 7 of 20
How many different species of pterosaurs have been discovered?
... About 100 different pterosaurs species have been discovered, but scientists believe there are many more. They have mainly been discovered buried in coastal rock.
Question 8 of 20
Who gave the pterodactyl its name?
... In 1809, French anatomist Georges Cuvier gave the pterodactyl its name, which means wing finger. He assumed that the pterodactyl's closest living relatives were reptiles.
Question 9 of 20
When did scientist revise the pterodactyl's image?
... In the 1970s, Russian scientists found indisputable evidence that the pterodactyl did not have bat or crocodile like skin, but rather was covered in fur.
Question 10 of 20
What color do scientist theorize the pterodactyl's fur was?
... An animal's color must act as a camouflage and help it attract a mate. If the pterodactyl lived near the ocean, it was most probably the same color as seabirds today -- white, difficult to see against the glare of the sun or a cloudy sky.
Question 11 of 20
Which animal was the pterodactyl's brain similar to?
... Fossilized skulls show that the pterodactyl had a brain similar to that of a modern day bird. Like birds, it had large frontal lobes, indicating high intelligence and enlarged optic lobes, evidence of exceptional eyesight.
Question 12 of 20
What do scientists theorize about the strength of a pterodactyl's wings?
... Fossil evidence indicates that the pterodactyl's wings were covered with strong, flexible fibers encased in a sheet of elastic tissue. This would have made their wings strong and unbreakable.
Question 13 of 20
What force is it that causes a bird or airplane to become airborne?
... The force that causes a bird or airplane to become airborne is called lift. It is created by the difference in speed of the air above and below the wing, which leads to a rush of high pressure air against the wing.
Question 14 of 20
What impact does the wing's size have on the lift?
... The larger the wing surface, and the faster it slices through the air, the greater the lift that is generated.
Question 15 of 20
To what was a pterodactyl's wing structure similar?
... A pterodactyl's wing structure is similar to that of an airplane. They both have flaps on the curved edge of their wing that can be flexed up and down for extra lift.
Question 16 of 20
What animal did pterodactyls walk like?
... Recently found pterodactyl track ways indicate that pterodactyls had bat-style locomotion, as opposed to bird-style, and that, like bats, they walked using their front and hind legs.
Question 17 of 20
When flying, how much of a pterodactyl's body muscle was put to work?
... A pterodactyl would have used almost 100 percent of its body muscle when flying, making it a stronger flyer than bats and birds.
Question 18 of 20
At what point does a large flying animal face the most challenge?
... Large flying animals face the greatest challenge during takeoff. A pterodactyl's body had special features to combat this difficulty, including sharp claws to enable them to climb, giving them extra height.
Question 19 of 20
What diving technique did the pterodactyl use to help it catch fish?
... The problem with hunting for fish from the air is that it is difficult to catch fish that are not near the surface. To counteract this problem, the pterodactyl uses the lunge-diving technique to land deep below the surface.
Question 20 of 20
Which animals today hunts fish like the pterodactyl?
... The pelican hunts fish in the same way as the pterodactyl. They both used the plunge-diving technique and had long, pointed bills and expandable lower jaws that could take in a lot fish in one gulp.