Rhamphorhynchus (Rhamphorhynchus): description, characteristics, photos

Ramphorhynchus (lat. Rhamphorhynchus, from others.-Greek. \μφος “curved beak” and }γχος “muzzle”) a genus of extinct reptiles of the order of flying pangolins (pterosaurs) that lived in the Jurassic period (about 170-140 million years ago) in Europe (Great Britain, Spain and Germany) and Africa ( Angola and Tanzania). First described by paleontologist Meyer in 1847. Includes 4 types.

All flying lizards (pterosaurs) are divided into two groups long-tailed and short-tailed winged lizards. The most ancient are long-tailed, ramphorhynchus. From Greek, this word is translated as “crooked”, although when you look at the reconstruction of the head of Rhamphorhynchus, you want to call it rather crooked-toothed.

Obviously, these animals fed on fish sharp long curved teeth made it possible to capture and hold slippery prey well. The wingspan of Rhamphorhynchus was 181 cm.

The wings of Rhamphorhynchus were narrower than those of progressive short-tailed flying lizards. Probably, rhamphorhynchus were inferior to them in flight maneuverability. The long tail had a diamond-shaped leathery outgrowth at the end and served as a rudder during flight.


  • Rhamphorhynchus jessoni Lydekker, 1890
  • Rhamphorhynchus manselii Owen, 1874
  • Rhamphorhynchus pleydellii Owen, 1874
  • The remains of a half-eaten fish found in Germany along with the fossilized bones of the pterosaur Rhamphorhynchus indicate exactly what he ate.

    Weighing no more than 5.5 kg and having a wingspan of 175 cm, Rhamphorhynchus had sharp teeth located along its upper and lower jaws, ideal for catching large fish that swam in the seas of the Jurassic period, as you can see in the illustration.

    There were apparently several different species of this pterosaur some the size of a swan, while others no more than a seagull. But paleontologists are sure that everyone had a special skin pouch attached to the lower jaw. This is where the first stage of their digestion might have taken place, or where the fish they would burp into a soft slurry was stored to feed their young when they returned to the nest.

    Fossil Ramforins, first discovered in limestone in the vicinity of Zolngofen, Germany, were in very good condition, and on them you can restore the appearance of that pterosaurus in detail. Thanks to them, we know, for example, that he had a significant head and a large sternum, which provided an extensive surface of attachment for the muscles that set the wings.

    The elongated bones of the fourth finger of both front extremities were a support for the wings, which were strengthened by many strong fibers.

    When Ramforinh closed his jaws, the teeth were clutching, forming a semblance of a trap or cage, so that everything that fell into the oral cavity of Ramforin remained in it. Twenty long narrow teeth were located on the upper jaw, while the lower was fourteen.

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