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Dinosaurs of The Isle of Wight - Pterosaurs

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Pterosaurs1 (or flying reptiles) have been discovered on the south-west coast of the Island, and at Yaverland, near Sandown. Pterosaurs are only rarely found in good condition, yet they were probably common throughout the Late Jurassic and Early Cretaceous, so around for 155 million years or so. Pterosaurs grew to gigantic sizes: Quetzalcoatlus had an 11 metre wingspan.

Several pterosaur teeth and bones have been found on the Island, including remnants of giant pterosaurs. Sadly, not enough complete remains exist for thorough study.

Istiodactylus latidens

Meaning 'Sail-finger wide-tooth', this was a large pteradactyloid pterosaur with a 5 metre wingspan. First found in Atherfield by the 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 found in England. It had a skull unlike any other pterosaur found, as well as unusual interlocking teeth that have razor-edges.

The teeth has caused many to speculate that its diet may not have consisted exclusively of fish (like most pterosaurs), but could have included carrion as well.

Ornithocheirus nobilis

The sole remains of 'Noble bird-hand' was found by Gideon Mantell and bought by the Natural History Museum in 1853. This was a possible second wing finger phalanx. There is little more information on this find.

Ornithocheirus sagittirostris

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

Dinosaurs Of The Isle Of Wight

1Technically, pterosaurs are not dinosaurs, although they are closely related.

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