Is it true that a pterodactyl is not a dinosaur

(ORDO NEWS) — As much as you love pterodactyls, you should think twice before telling someone that this is your “favorite dinosaur”.

Since 1834, the scientific community has considered pterodactyl an outdated unofficial name for representatives of the Pterosauria order, which includes all flying reptiles that lived in the Mesozoic era (from 252.2 to 66 million years ago).

Pterosaurs were the first reptiles to fly and the first vertebrates to successfully fly thanks to their strong forelegs, which allowed them to throw their body into the air.

Their wings were formed by a skin membrane that connected to the hand with an elongated ring finger, not unlike the fleshy wings of bats.

But while pterosaurs lived among dinosaurs and certainly looked like dinosaurs to the untrained eye, the two groups are not the same. However, don’t be fooled: it’s not their wings that distinguish them. Dinosaurs have their own flying descendants.

Like humans and apes, pterosaurs and dinosaurs had a common ancestor, which explains the similarity of these creatures (in the same way, it is impossible to call a pterosaur a dinosaur with greater accuracy than to call a person an ape).

Both pterosaurs and dinosaurs were part of the Avemetatarsalia clade within the subclass Archosauria, the latter of which includes both the close relatives of crocodiles and the closest relatives of dinosaurs and pterosaurs.

However, within Avemetatarsalia there is a clear division line: dinosaurs and their close relatives are on one side, inside the Dinosauromorpha, and pterosaurs on the other. And although modern birds call dinosaurs their ancestors, none of the descendants of pterosaurs escaped extinction.

If you can’t get a fossilized reptile to tell you about its family, pterosaurs and dinosaurs can be distinguished by their bones.

Skeletally, the two groups diverged about 250 million years ago, resulting in a number of physical differences, especially in the appendages: while dinosaurs had an empty hole in the hip joint and a long ridge in the humerus, pterosaurs had neither.

All this means, unfortunately, that you can’t call a pterosaur your favorite dinosaur. What is your favorite ancient flying reptile? This one is much closer to the truth!

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