Dinosaurs Of The Isle Of Wight: Pterosaurs

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Pterosaurs, or flying reptiles, have been found on the Isle of Wight, both on the south-west coast, and at Yaverland, near Sandown. Pterosaurs are only rarely found in good condition, yet they probably were common throughout the Late Jurassic and Early Cretaceous, and so ruled the skies for 155 million years. Pterosaurs grew to gigantic sizes, Quetzalcoatlus, for example, had an 11 metre wingspan.

Several pterosaur teeth and indeterminate bones have been found on the Island, including ones from giant pterosaurs. Sadly, too few complete remains exist for thorough study. The partial skeletons of pterosaurs that have been discovered so far belong to smaller pterosaurs, with wingspans of around 5 metres.

Istiodactylus latidens

Meaning "Sail-finger wide-tooth", this was a large pteradactyloid pterosaur with a 5 metre wingspan. First found in Atherfield by Reverend Fox, it was originally named "Ornithodesmus latidens", meaning "bird-link wide-tooth", and was for a long time confused with Ornithodesmus cluniculus. The remains found are the most complete remains of Cretaceous pterosaurs yet found in England, with a skull shape unlike any other pterosaur yet found, as well as unusual interlocking teeth that have razor-edges.

This has caused many to believe that its diet did not purely consist of fish like most pterosaurs, but instead could have been a scavenging carrion-eater, able to tear off chunks of meat from carcasses, and even small prey.

Ornithocheirus nobilis

The sole remains "Noble bird-hand" was found by Mantell and bought by the Natural History Museum in 1853. This was a possible second wing finger's phalanx, but more cannot be said.

Ornithocheirus sagittirostris

"Arrow-snouted bird-hand" is a pterosaur with an unusually wide jaw when compared to it's body length, first found at St. Leonards-on-Sea, Sussex. An Ornithocheirus sagittirostris jaw has also been found on the Isle of Wight.

Dinosaurs Of The Isle Of Wight

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