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359

Pterodaustro guinazui

OLogy Series
extinct animal
card
359

Pterodaustro guinazui

OLogy Series
extinct animal

About 100 million years ago, a flying reptile called Pterodaustro guinazui soared above the coast of what is now Argentina. With its 8-foot wingspan, Pterodaustro was nearly the size of a condor. But when it came to feeding, this pterosaur was probably more like a flamingo than a bird of prey. Pterodaustro probably waded near the shore and scooped up water and strained it for food through fine, bristle-like teeth.

A typical meal for Pterodaustro was:

fish

seaweed

shrimp

Are you right?

Correct!

Pterodaustro used its thin teeth to filter tiny animals like brine shrimp out of the water.

Scientists think Pterodaustro may have had a pinkish hue because:

it was a close relative of flamingos

it had a similar diet to flamingos

it lived in the same habitat as flamingos

Are you right?

Correct!

Flamingos eat brine shrimp, and those shrimp eat a special kind of bacteria that make natural coloring pigments. These pigments make their way up the food chain -- from bacteria to brine shrimp to flamingos -- to produce pink feathers.

Mark Norell, paleontologist

There are several living animals that use filter feeding to acquire food like Pterodaustro did when it was alive. Probably the most familiar ones are the flamingo and ostrich.

Scientists think stones found in the stomach of Pterodaustro helped this animal digest its food.

Fact
or
Fiction
?

Fact

These "stomach stones" may have helped Pterodaustro grind up food. Some birds today swallow stones to help them digest food.

Most pterosaurs that lived at the time of Pterodaustro had thin, comblike teeth.

Fact
or
Fiction
?

Fiction

Pterosaur teeth came in many shapes and sizes. They also could be daggerlike for stabbing prey or tiny for snatching insects in flight. Some pterosaurs had no teeth at all!

Pronunciation: tair-o-DOW-stro gee-NA-zoo-eye
Lived: around 100 million years ago
Fossil Found: in central Argentina
Wingspan: 8 feet (2.5 meters)
Diet: small arthropods, crustaceans, mollusks
Cool Fact: The teeth of Pterodaustro were packed so closely that a single inch of the jaw might contain 60 teeth (24 per centimeter)!

Image credits: © AMNH 2014; Mark Norell: AMNH.