Things that Weren’t - Pterodactyl
Okay, so I know somebody’s going to get mad that I’m nit picking, but so what? This is an issue that I need to get off my chest. There is no such thing as a pterodactyl. Usually when somebody says pterodactyl, they are thinking of a pteranodon, any other pterosaur, or, maybe, pterodactylus, which is really close, but it’s not really the same, is it? Anyway, let’s talk about pterosaurs. Pterosaurs were flying reptiles, as you may guess by their name, as it means winged lizard, though ptero has been used in place of fins in some cases. They lived in the late Triassic through the end of the Cretaceous. They were the earliest known vertebrates to evolve powered flight. Their wing was formed by a membrane of skin, muscle, and tissues, stretched between an extremely exaggerated fourth finger and somewhere on the torso of the pterosaur. They are often referred to as flying dinosaurs in popular media and by the general public, but are not dinosaurs, as they do not fit into the clade dinosauria. I may have been a bit misleading before that Pterodactyls don’t exist. They do, but it’s an improper name for the genus pterodactylus, and, occasionally, pterodactyloidea, however, it’s like calling an apatosaurus a brontosaurus, it is not correct, and you are a detriment to the scientific literacy if you do it.
By Kenn Chaplin from Toronto, Canada (ROM Dinosaurs 019 Uploaded by FunkMonk) [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons