Pterosaur Fossil

Photograph by Jonathan Blair

Like their cousins the dinosaurs, pterosaurs stand out as one of evolution's great success stories. They first appeared during the Triassic period, 215 million years ago, and thrived for 150 million years before going extinct at the end of the Cretaceous period. Uncontested in the air, pterosaurs colonized all continents and evolved a vast array of shapes and sizes. This specimen, found in Italy, is Eudimorphodon ranzii, with a wingspan of about three feet (one meter) and 114 tiny teeth packed into its jaws.