Pterosaurs: Natural History, Evolution, Anatomy

Mark Witton

Research output: Book/ReportBook


For 150 million years, the skies didn't belong to birds--they belonged to the pterosaurs. These flying reptiles, which include the pterodactyls, shared the world with the nonavian dinosaurs until their extinction 65 million years ago. Some pterosaurs, such as the giant azhdarchids, were the largest flying animals of all time, with wingspans exceeding thirty feet and standing heights comparable to modern giraffes. This richly illustrated book takes an unprecedented look at these astonishing creatures, presenting the latest findings on their anatomy, ecology, and extinction.

Pterosaurs features some 200 stunning illustrations, including original paintings by Mark Witton and photos of rarely seen fossils. After decades of mystery, paleontologists have finally begun to understand how pterosaurs are related to other reptiles, how they functioned as living animals, and, despite dwarfing all other flying animals, how they managed to become airborne. Here you can explore the fossil evidence of pterosaur behavior and ecology, learn about the skeletal and soft-tissue anatomy of pterosaurs, and consider the newest theories about their cryptic origins. This one-of-a-kind book covers the discovery history, paleobiogeography, anatomy, and behaviors of more than 130 species of pterosaur, and also discusses their demise at the end of the Mesozoic.

The most comprehensive book on pterosaurs ever published
Features some 200 illustrations, including original paintings by the author
Covers every known species and major group of pterosaurs
Describes pterosaur anatomy, ecology, behaviors, diversity, and more
Encourages further study with 500 references to primary pterosaur literature
Original languageEnglish
PublisherPrinceton University Press
Number of pages304
ISBN (Electronic)978-1400847655
ISBN (Print)978-0691150611
Publication statusPublished - 2013


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