Flying Reptiles


Pterosaurs are an extinct group of flying reptiles that lived from the late Triassic to the end of the Cretaceous Period (220 to 65.5 million years ago). They include the largest known flying creatures of all time. They were able to fly because of their hollow and air-filled bones, which are clearly visible in the thin section views shown here. Other characteristic features include membranes of skin (similar to that found on modern day bats and flying squirrels) that were attached to an extremely long fourth finger of each arm.

Archaeopteryx is a well known feathered flying reptile of Jurassic age that has been found in limestone near Solnhofen in Germany. It is a transitional species intermediate between dinosaurs and modern birds. More information here.


Sedgwick Museum, Cambridge

National Museum Wales, Cardiff

Pterosaur bone 2
between crossed polars

View thin section

SEM views

Pterosaur bone 1
between crossed polars
Pterosaur bone 3
plane polarised light
Pterosaur bone 1
plane polarised light

Object movie

Pterosaur bone 2 
plane polarised light
Pterosaur bone 3RMS-SEM-FlyingReptiles1.html

Archaeopteryx lithographica

Eichstätt specimen, as displayed at the Munich Mineral Show 2009

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Archaeopteryx Exhibit
More ArchaeopteryxRMS-Info-FlyingReptiles2.html
Colour in Fossil Dinosaurs and BirdsRMS-Info-FlyingReptiles3.html
Courtesy of H. Raab

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