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Pteranodon is a large flying reptile with a wingspan measuring as long as a school bus. These reptiles did not have feathers but rather had a basal type of integument along the same lineage from which feathers evolved, called pycnofibers. Pycnofibers were very hair-like in appearance and, like hair, were made of keratin.

Members of the Pterosaur order lived through much of the Mesozoic, some species of Pterosaurs with wingspans close to 11 meters (36 feet). Pteranodon males had a wingspan of 5 meters (16 feet), while females had a wingspan of 3 meters (10 feet), making the males one of the largest Pterosaurs found.

Pteranodon means "toothless wing," but despite this, it appears with teeth in one of the movies. It probably used the long crest on the back of its head to help it steer while flying.

Their diet was comprised of fish and scavenged remains of dead marine animals. Quite a few Pteranodon skeletons have been found in Kansas in the central part of the U.S. This would have been the shore of a shallow sea when these creatures were alive, supporting the theory that they were fish eaters.[2]

Wikipedia has a more detailed and comprehensive article on Pteranodon


In the Past

During a flashback of the cretaceous, a flock of Pteranodons were resting and feasting on a carcass before being scared away by a Quetzalcoatlus. Other Pteranodons were nesting near a cliff with one diving to the river to catch fishs.


Pteranodon was successfully recreated by InGen in their lab on Isla Sorna where they were fed and parented in captivity being raised in the Isla Sorna Aviary.[3]

There were four variations of the cloned Pteranodon, which all had abnormal features that their original counterpart lacked. However, there were common characteristics exhibited in the clones, such as a lack of pycnofibres on their bodies, which all pterosaurs had, was adapted to different regions than the original, and the ability to use their hind legs for grasping. They did not appear to have any sexual dimorphism. The geneticists probably removed sexual dimorphism from the recreations because they wanted all the clones to be born female and Pteranodon's famous crest belonged only to males in the genus.

The variation that was seen at the end of The Lost World: Jurassic Park had many characteristics of birds that can be seen in its bipedal gait and neck posture with a hooked beak. Their bodies were black, with the wing membrane tan and the back of the wings dark brown. Their heads were blue with a yellow beak.[4]

The second variation was the most commonly encountered and retained the quadrupedal gait of the pterosaurs, but it had teeth lining its beak, great strength, and feet like a bird of prey, as well as having a lifestyle just like one. They laid an estimate of six eggs and their young was able to fly at an early age, but it seemed to be limited so the juveniles could not hunt for themselves, requiring an adult to fetch them their food. This variation of Pteranodon had a color scheme consisting of tan and brown, but also had splotches of black on the tips of its wings and its beak. This variation was also larger than the real Pteranodon by having a 32 ft wingspan, which is nearly the size of the largest pterosaurs Quetzalcoatlus and Hatzegopteryx.

The third variation was an actual species that existed before the cloning process named Pteranodon sternbergi, which has since been reassigned by some recent work in 2010 to a separate genus, Geosternbergia, though this recent revision isn't universally accepted within the scientific community.[4] It too had a hooked beak like the first variation. Unlike the other variations, however, these had pycnofibres like their original counterpart.

The fourth variation from Masrani's Jurassic World park were more close to the original animal, lacking teeth and the females lacking crests that were the size of the males. However, they still could use their feet to grab objects like the clones. Their bodies were gray with their heads being either dark red or blue and had an orange wing membrane.[5] These new Pteranodon clones are also shown to have the ability to dive and swim underwater, similar to modern-day seabirds.

Wild on Isla Sorna

When Hurricane Clarissa stuck Isla Sorna, the InGen personal fled the island. Some of the Pteranodons were either freed by the workers or broke out of their cages themselves,[4] but a population of Pteranodon was still kept inside the Isla Sorna Aviary.[3] The bird-like variation took residence in the southwest[4] while the variation with teeth were only known to the southeast with an isolated population still living in the Aviary.[3]

The pterosaur was the largest flying animal known on Isla Sorna.

The cloned pterosaurs combated the Lysine contingency by eating animals (such as some types of fish and even territorial vertebrates) rich with Lysine.[4]

By 2001, there were four Pteranodon adults and six juveniles living in the Isla Sorna Aviary. At some point, the family encountered a human as evident by the human remains in the nest in Jurassic Park III.[3] It is unknown who this person was and if they were even alive when the Pteranodons found them.

Isla Sorna Incident (2001)

A Pteranodon emerging from the fog on the Isla Sorna Aviary bridge.

The Pteranodon family living in the Isla Sorna Aviary had a major skirmish with the surviving humans involved in the incident. One of the adults detected the human visitors' presence in its enclosure as they crossed the bridge that connects the observatory to the Isla Sorna Aviary so they could get in the barge below. The adult pterosaur decided to land on the bridge when it was Eric Kirby's time to cross. Eric let out a scream of terror just before breaking into a sprint when the Pteranodon emerged from the thick fog surrounding the back of the laboratory to the front of the aviary.[3]

The large pterosaur responded by snatching Eric Kirby and flying off as his group were racing towards the situation. The pterosaur carried the young human to a rock platform near its nest filled with baby Pteranodons chirping out of hunger. With the hungry babies setting their sights on him, leaving Eric to quarrel with the Pteranodons.[5]

A Pteranodon with Eric Kirby in its clutches.

Eventually, the juvenile Pteranodons swarmed around him, but there was hope for Eric because Billy Brennan descended towards the nesting area to save the boy using the recovered paraglider of the now-deceased Ben Hildebrand and was calling to him. The baby Pteranodons bit tightly on Eric Kirby's jacket, focused on the appeal rather than their main target, allowing Eric to use this to his advantage by giving his jacket over to the hungry Pteranodons and leaping to a platform behind him afterward. Though as soon as he reached his destination, he found there was nowhere else to flee to, allowing the juvenile pterosaurs to continue attacking him.[3]

Thankfully for Eric Kirby, Billy Brennan was coming close to the stone platform he was on, wanting Eric to jump to him. Eric was eager to escape his attackers so he swiped the Pteranodons off of him and he successfully clung to Billy soon afterward. The Pteranodon juveniles ceased their pursuit as Eric Kirby drifted away with his rescuer, but there was one that continued the chase and managed to grasp itself onto Eric's back. However, the pterosaur's grip was not very firm and it soon fell off as Billy made sharp turns as he glided. Despite being rescued by Billy Brennan, the boy was not safe from danger. As the two paraglided, three adult Pteranodons followed them with one making a minor tear in their parachute. This attack made Billy demand Eric let go of him and jump safely into the water below.[3]

Concurrent to the events mentioned above, Dr. Alan Grant, Amanda, and Paul Kirby were racing through the aviary's walkway trying to reach Eric. But they were put to a halt when they reached a section of the walkway that was completely missing. This gave an adult Pteranodon the chance to strike them. It tried getting through the open passageway, but its large wingspan and head crest wouldn't allow it to fit through. So it decided to fly up and land on the top of one of the sections of the passageway that was slightly damaged and slide its beak through hoping to bite one of the fleeing humans. Because of its weight, the roof of the passage collapsed, getting the Pteranodon inside the walkway. As the flying reptile cornered its prey to the end of the hallway, the section they were in collapsed from the added weight of the pterosaur, plunging both the humans and the Pteranodon into the water below. The pterosaur quickly reached by emerging to prepare itself for flight, but was pushed back into the river by the falling segment it unwillingly helped detach.[3]

Dr. Alan Grant and Amanda and Paul Kirby cornered by a pterosaur.

As Billy Brennan glided away from any of the airborne reptiles chasing him, his paraglider became snagged on a bulging nearby rock face. With their prey in a weak position, two Pteranodons began to circle around him like buzzards, preparing to strike. Billy freed himself by removing his harness and fell into the riverbank below, but he was not free from the sight of the Pterosaurs. Dr. Alan Grant and Paul Kirby, who had just reached dry land, reunited with Eric Kirby and watched Billy from afar, rushed to rescue him. Once they reached Billy's position, a Pteranodon snatched him, but it lost grip of its prey seconds after grabbing him, only for a second Pteranodon to pin him to the rock bed of the river. Though, like the previous attack, Brennan broke free from his attackers' grasp. As the pterosaurs attacked him, Billy demanded that the two group members not try saving him. After one final plea, the two pterosaurs that had pursued Billy relentlessly assaulted him at the same time and proceeded to viciously maul him as his body drifted down the river. However, Brennan somehow survived the lacerations the Pteranodons gave him and he was later rescued by the Marines at the end of the incident.[3]

A third Pteranodon began to chase Dr. Alan Grant and Paul Kirby as Billy was mauled. But when it tried to snatch one of the humans, they both dived into the deep waters of the river where they swam to the barge and the rest of their group. The Pteranodon followed in pursuit but was blocked by one of the metal walls of the Aviary. While the two men went to save Billy, Eric and Amanda Kirby unlocked the door to the Isla Sorna Aviary to escape it. After the two unlocked the door, Amanda soon relocked it, though unknown to her it soon reverted back when she and the other survivors rushed to get to the boat.[3]

The Pteranodons that were in the aviary escaped and left Isla Sorna.

The three Pteranodon adults escaped their enclosure after the humans had left. For some reason, they abandoned their young. This could have been because they didn't know how expansive the world was outside of the Aviary or thought the fourth Pteranodon would take care of the juveniles, which seems unlikely after the section of the walkway fell on it. The survivors and the Marines/Navy who had rescued them saw the three Pterosaurs as they flew away from Isla Sorna. When asked by Dr. Grant why the flying reptiles were leaving their home, Dr. Grant suggested that they were looking for new nesting grounds. The survivors hardly showed concern for the escaped pterosaurs, focusing on the joy of being rescued.[3]

The escaped Pteranodons traveled a long distance, reaching Canada before they were "cleaned up" by Vic Hoskins and his InGen Security Division team. How the situation was handled impressed Simon Masrani who had bought out InGen several years before and had plans to make his own dinosaur park. He decided to appoint Vic to a high position in the InGen Security Division to reinvent the security firm.[6]

Jurassic World

Pteranodon was recreated by InGen a second time for Masrani Global Corporation's new dinosaur park Jurassic World.

Despite their aggression, they seemed to be comfortable with living alongside the smaller Dimorphodon inside The Aviary.[5]

A humorous incident once occurred at Jurassic World when a Pteranodon stole a man's hat.[7]

Isla Nublar Incident (2015)

Zara and a Pteranodon getting devoured by the Mosasaurus.

After the hybrid Indominus rex escaped from its enclosure, it ran into the aviary while being pursued by the JW001 helicopter. A group of Pteranodons attacked the helicopter, killing the two Asset Containment Unit troopers onboard and causing it to crash into the enclosure. The ensuing explosion killed Simon Masrani, who was piloting the helicopter and allowed the residents of the aviary to escape.[5]

A mixed flock of Pteranodon and Dimorphodon then flew into the Main Street of the park and attacked the human visitors in the area. One Pteranodon grabbed Jurassic World employee Zara Young where she was briefly flung among other Pteranodons until she was ultimately dropped into the Jurassic World Lagoon where the Mosasaurus lived. While in the water several Pteranodons dived to retrieve her. When one of the pterosaurs finally grabbed her, the Mosasaurus inside the lagoon saw the Pteranodon flying over her territory and proceeded to consume the large pterosaur whole, swallowing Zara in the process, who was in the grip of the Pteranodon. Another Pteranodon's beak nearly impaled Gray and Zach Mitchell after it was tranquilized while in flight and crashed to the ground below. The flock was eventually subdued by park rangers and Owen Grady after they entered the area with tranquilizer rifles.[5]

Another mixed flock was present in the Gentle Giants Petting Zoo where they also attacked the people there as well as the juvenile animals.[5]

After the incident, Pteranodons were seen roaming the skies freely, now having become wild.[5]

Jurassic World: Camp Cretaceous

The Pteranodon population continued to survive on Isla Nublar after the fall of Jurassic World. Six months later, a rival company known as Mantah Corp. took many Pteranodon clones from Isla Sorna. The company did not know which artificial environment to place them in, until Kash D. Langford told the BRAD-Xes to place them in the Redwood Forest Biome. The flock soon attacked the campers, baby dinosaurs, and Kash before flying away.

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom

It is revealed that there are surviving Pteranodon populations on Isla Nublar, although they will now face an impending danger, alongside many other creatures, in the form of an erupting volcano.

Pteranodon in Las Vegas.

Pteranodon were first seen flying over Owen Grady as he was searching for the Velociraptor Blue. More are seen flying off the island during the Eruption of Mt. Sibo (with an individual getting knocked out of the sky by falling volcanic debris around the same time that a juvenile Allosaurus was struck down by a magma rock).

At least three Pteranodon were captured and taken to Lockwood Manor, but they escaped along with the rest of the animals with the help of Claire Dearing and Maisie Lockwood. One individual attempted to carry off a mercenary who is then dropped onto a car, killing him. Three Pteranodon were seen flying in the ocean with Owen, Claire, and Maisie looking on from the jeep they were driving in. Three of them were later seen on the miniature Eiffel Tower in Las Vegas during the post-credits scene.

Battle at Big Rock

Pteranodon makes a brief cameo in the short, catching a wedding dove during the end credits.

Jurassic World: Dominion

By 2022, the Department of Prehistoric Wildlife had reports of Pteranodon in Chandni Chowk, India, Hakone, Japan, Vancouver, Canada, Montana Clara in the Canary Islands, Malaga, Spain, and Helena Lewis, Clark National Park in the USA, Chilca, Peru, Nashville, Tennessee and South Korea.

Many Pteranodons from Isla Nublar and Isla Sorna were captured by Biosyn and transferred to its sanctuary. While Ellie Sattler, Alan Grant and Ramsay Cole were heading towards Biosyn Valley, a Pteranodon was seen near a Dreadnoughtus as it eat and drink in the lake. Later, after Claire ejects from the plane after it is going to crash, a flock of Pteranodons attacked her and destroy her parachute, sending her into the territory of the Therizinosaurus. As Lewis Dodgson burn Giant Locusts whom they escaped and cause a forest fire, Pteranodons were evacuated into the headquarters alongside many other dinosaurs and pterosaurs.


Promotional Images

Jurassic Park

The Lost World: Jurassic Park

Jurassic Park III

Jurassic World

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom

Battle at Big Rock

Jurassic World: Camp Cretaceous

Jurassic World: Dominion


Behind the scenes

In the film canon, Pteranodon was ultimately chosen instead of the novels' Cearadactylus, probably because of its larger size, more spectacular/impressive appearance and massive popularity with audiences.

Steven Spielberg did not want to have the Cearadactylus in the first Jurassic Park film, as he previously felt that the aviary scene exactly described in the novel would have been too expensive and complicated to recreate, resulting in this scene being among the first to be automatically scrapped from the filming schedule.


Later in The Lost World: Jurassic Park, Spielberg wanted to show an action sequence called Air Attack which has a team of gatherers running away from a pack of Velociraptors and leaping off a cliff with hang gliders from their backpacks. However, while safely flying in the air, they are attacked by Pteranodons or Geosternbergia. Once again, the idea was ultimately abandoned (although conceptual art for both animals and maquettes for Pteranodon exist for that film). Another action sequence was developed but was also cut, where Pteranodons were attacking the rescue chopper.[8]

The screech a Pteranodon makes at the end of The Lost World: Jurassic Park was created by Gary Rydstrom slowing down the sound of him taking out tooth floss from his box.[8] For Jurassic Park III, large bird sounds (including giant petrels and albatrosses)[9] and the tree hyrax[10] were used for the vocalizations of the adult Pteranodon. The sounds of the juveniles from the same film were created from mongooses fighting, who Christopher Boyes found and recorded while on vacation in Hawaii with his family.[9] Voice actor Frank Welker also lent his voice to producing some their sounds.

According to an interview of Sam Neill, the actor who played Dr. Alan Grant in the films, there was going to be a scene where the Pterosaurs encountered the Velociraptors, but it never appeared in the final film. One of Jurassic Park III's alternate endings was one of the escaped Pteranodons attacking the rescue chopper of the survivors. This concept seems to have been reincorporated in the Jurassic Park: The Game scenario "Chopper Down!".

In the second version of Jurassic Park III's script, there was to be a parallel storyline involving Pteranodons traveling to the mainland and killing people there, though their identity as the culprit of these deaths was to be initially unknown.[11]

In the script for Jurassic Park III the Dino-Soar crew are killed by Pteranodons.

Pteranodon on the Novel bundle cover.

Trevor Morgan, the actor who played Eric Kirby, considered the scene where the Pteranodon snatches his character to be his favorite scene in Jurassic Park III.[12]

Pteranodon was featured on the Novel bundle cover despite making no appearance in the novels whatsoever.

A full sized Pteranodon suit was made for Jurassic Park III, but it was never used in the film.[13]

Much like Spinosaurus, Pteranodon was to be an animal that was not listed on InGen's List in one of the early scripts of Jurassic Park III.[14] This would have been contradictory to what was shown in The Lost World: Jurassic Park when Pteranodon (Geosterbergia) was seen on the fact sheets given to the InGen Hunters and as one of the screensavers in the Gatherers' RV.

There is a variant of the Jurassic Park III Pteranodon that is black with a red crest. Though a skin variation similar to this Pteranodon exists in concept art and as maquette made for the film[13] as well as the black Pteranodon itself even having a maquette of its own,[15] this variant never appeared in the final film. However, it instead appeared in the Inkworks Jurassic Park III Premium Trading Cards, the Royal Canadian Mint Jurassic Park III set, the Hasrbo toy line, and various Jurassic Park III video games, including Jurassic Park III: Park Builder.

In the Jurassic World storyboard, originally during the pterosaur attack the monorail that went over the lagoon was to collapse during the attack, dangling over the mosasaur's habitat. When a Pteranodon trying to kill a passenger desperately hanging onto the rapid transit vehicle, the Mosasaurus lunges out of the water pulling the Pteranodon down into the water and the monorail with it. Several Pteranodons then proceed to attack the marine reptile in an attempt to save their own, but ultimately the Mosasaurus gets away with its kill.[16]

They serve as one of two quaternary antagonists in Jurassic World, alongside the Dimorphodons.

The Pteranodons in Jurassic World, specifically the ones bearing red markings on their heads, bear a resemblance to the Pteranodon stamp that was a part of the 1989 "Dinosaurs" series.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Holtz, T. R., Brett-Surman, M. (2001). Dinosaur Field Guide, New York, NY: Random House, Inc.
  2. Dinopedia on the JPI site
  3. 3.00 3.01 3.02 3.03 3.04 3.05 3.06 3.07 3.08 3.09 3.10 Jurassic Park III
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 The Lost World: Jurassic Park
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 5.6 Jurassic World
  6. www.masraniglobal.com - InGen Security Retrieved from http://www.masraniglobal.com/about/divisions/ingen/security/index.html
  7. JurassicWorld.com - Standard Package Retrieved from http://www.jurassicworld.com/tickets/standard/
  8. 8.0 8.1 Return to Jurassic Park: Something Survived
  9. 9.0 9.1 Beyond Jurassic Park: The Sounds of Jurassic Park III
  10. Dan's JP3 Page - On Sound Effects (August 14, 2001) Retrieved from http://web.archive.org/web/20020812223622/http://dansjp3page.com/oldnews40.asp
  11. Topel, Fred. Jumanji's Joe Johnston Joins Jurassic Part 1: Shooting without a script. About.com
  12. Jurassic Park III website
  13. 13.0 13.1 Return to Jurassic Park: The Third Adventure
  14. Beyond Jurassic Park: The Art of Jurassic Park III
  15. CHUD.com - You Will Believe a Dino Can Fly (February 27, 2001) Archived from http://web.archive.org/web/20010816054754/http://www.chud.com/news/feb01/feb27jp3.php3
  16. davelowerystoryboards - Jurassic World (July 31, 2015) Retrieved from http://dlstoryboards.blogspot.com/2015/07/jurassic-world_31.html


The Lost World: Jurassic Park Prehistoric Creatures
CompsognathusGallimimusMamenchisaurusPachycephalosaurusParasaurolophusPteranodonStegosaurusTriceratopsTyrannosaurus rexVelociraptor
Jurassic Park III Prehistoric Creatures
AnkylosaurusBrachiosaurusCeratosaurusCompsognathusCorythosaurusParasaurolophusPteranodonSpinosaurusStegosaurusTriceratopsTyrannosaurus rexVelociraptor
Jurassic Park: The Game Dinosaurs
CompsognathusDilophosaurusHerrerasaurusParasaurolophusPteranodonTroodonTriceratopsTylosaurusTyrannosaurus rexVelociraptor
Jurassic World Dinosaurs
AnkylosaurusApatosaurusDimorphodonGallimimusIndominus rexMosasaurusPachycephalosaurusParasaurolophusPteranodonStegosaurusTriceratopsTyrannosaurus rexVelociraptor
Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom Prehistoric Creatures
AllosaurusAnkylosaurusApatosaurusBaryonyxBrachiosaurusCarnotaurusCompsognathusGallimimusIndoraptorMosasaurusParasaurolophusPteranodonSinoceratopsStegosaurusStygimolochTriceratopsTyrannosaurus rexVelociraptor
Battle at Big Rock Animals
Jurassic World: Camp Cretaceous Dinosaurs
AnkylosaurusBaryonyxBrachiosaurusCarnotaurusCeratosaurusCompsognathusDilophosaurusDimorphodonGallimimusIndominus rexKentrosaurusMonolophosaurusMosasaurusOuranosaurusParasaurolophusParasaurolophus luxPteranodonScorpios rexSinoceratopsSino-SpinoSmilodonSpinosaurusStegosaurusTyrannosaurus rexVelociraptor
Jurassic World: Dominion Prehistoric Creatures
AllosaurusAnkylosaurusApatosaurusAtrociraptorBaryonyxBrachiosaurusCarnotaurusCompsognathusDilophosaurusDimetrodonDimorphodonDreadnoughtusGallimimusGiganotosaurusGiant locustIguanodonLystrosaurusMicroceratusMorosMosasaurusNasutoceratopsParasaurolophusPteranodonPyroraptorQuetzalcoatlusSinoceratopsStegosaurusStygimolochTherizinosaurusTriceratopsTyrannosaurus rexVelociraptor