How Pterosaurs Got Their Wings


Comments • 1 034

  • peter papadimitriou
    peter papadimitriou  19 hours back

    Maybe a little bit of both could be possible right? I still find it interesting that a little lizard like creature could one day take flight.

    • Marc S.
      Marc S.  2 days back

      I can't believe that so a flying species had exist.

      • Frank D
        Frank D  6 days back

        having watched another of your shows. large parts of this sound the same as the "when bats took flight" episode you did.

        • pawel slabon
          pawel slabon  1 weeks back

          No mate they wouldnt be around today because we would kill them all xD

          • Kj16V
            Kj16V  1 weeks back

            7:31 I don't believe for one minute that a pterosaur ever flew with that ridiculous thing sticking out of its head. I think this is going to be one of those things where it turns out archeologists got the locations of the bones mixed up.

            • Cam RSR
              Cam RSR  1 weeks back

              Tree leapers!

              • Andrew Blucher
                Andrew Blucher  2 weeks back

                I think pterosaurs evolved from a ground dwelling dino who chased its prey up trees then jumped after it. So all three evolutionary pressures were present. It doesn't have to be all one thing or the other.

                • Ahillia Jasmine
                  Ahillia Jasmine  2 weeks back

                  Hello from Athens, Greece ! Your video is fantastic ! I am a student (14 years old) and I would like to propose that pterosaurs maybe were living into the water and as they were swimming, with the pass of time, they created their feathers. My opinion is based on some features that I have seen into the sea. For example, frog has created its webs by swimming. With the shape of its feet, it can live both on land and in water. Probably would be similar the development of the pterosaurs. Thank you again for all your videos !!! Achillia.

                  • jonstfrancis
                    jonstfrancis  2 weeks back

                    I'm not sure it is only size that caused their extinction, all pterosaurs are aerial and like aerial birds went extinct. The one or so species of bird that survived the extinction event were either flightless or at least ground dwelling birds. Full flight birds all went extinct. Simple ground dwellers were the survivors, even most of those went extinct too.

                    • Nathan Chronister
                      Nathan Chronister  2 weeks back

                      I am not buying the idea that a lineage will diversify in response to competition pressure. It should only decrease in diversity. For example if large pterosaurs already existed, then competition from birds might cause the smaller pterosaurs to be reduced. As for why pterosaurs became larger and diversified, there must have been some other reason besides competition from birds. Maybe pterosaurs developed the ability to resist sunburn on their wings, or they evolved better flight or walking or feeding adaptations. Maybe there was a change in the ecology that allowed them to start into new niches. This happening around the same time as the origin of birds doesn't prove birds were the cause. And if birds were the cause, I can think of some more plausible mechanisms: Some pterosaurs likely nested on islands (as seabirds do today) so the hatchlings would be safe from predators. Then suddenly birds were there too. Maybe some pterosaurs got bigger because it helped reduce nest predation by birds. Also, maybe birds or their eggs/nestlings were a new food source that caused pterosaurs to expand.

                      • Rachel Timpanaro
                        Rachel Timpanaro  2 weeks back

                        when i was little my parents took my to a museum that had a life-sized sculpture of queztalcoatalus. i was so amazed by it that i kept running back to it every ten minutes or so to stare up at it.

                        • Karin Allen
                          Karin Allen  2 weeks back

                          My first thought, on seeing the pterosaur at 8:15, was that it was wearing a tam o' shanter.

                          • Caleb Cruseturner
                            Caleb Cruseturner  3 weeks back

                            My teacher told me every time a bell rings a pterosaur gets its wings.

                            • WolfykunxOxOx
                              WolfykunxOxOx  4 weeks back

                              I got a Curiosity Stream and called "Ancient Earth" o>o

                              • Joshua Kahky
                                Joshua Kahky  4 weeks back

                                What's the music that starts at 1:06 ? It's really nice

                                • Bert Smith
                                  Bert Smith  1 months back

                                  Pterosaur tikka masala.

                                  • Doodelay
                                    Doodelay  1 months back

                                    The pace of the commentary doesn't match the music in this video

                                    • Shiny Shoes
                                      Shiny Shoes  1 months back

                                      Pterodactyl hunting season.

                                      • Titus Tucker
                                        Titus Tucker  1 months back

                                        If we had the ability to travel back in time but only had the choice of viewing one animal, which would be a hard decision (seeing a full grown T-Rex on the hunt would be thrilling), I still believe I would want to see one of these giant Pterosaurs, both on the ground and in flight, most interesting would be to see how they took to flight from a standstill as theorized.

                                        • Daniel McDavid
                                          Daniel McDavid  1 months back

                                          Here is my hypothesis:

                                          Smallish Ornithodirans were bipedal, running and jumping to catch prey.

                                          Their forelimbs got longer to allow them to jump using both their front and back legs. They push off the ground with one set then get a second push from the other. This is similar to the quad launch, the method likely used by pterosaurs to get airborne.

                                          With the quad launch, they would have been able to jump higher and farther with a shorter running start if any.

                                          Basically, I support a quadrupedal version of the ground up hypothesis. However, I'm not saying I'm right. I'm saying this is, in my opinion, the most likely scenario based on the evidence I am aware of. I am fairly knowledgeable on this topic, but I am not an expert. If you disagree with my hypothesis and have evidence that I don't know about, I would be happy to have a civilized discussion in the replies to this comment.

                                          • Soymatze
                                            Soymatze  1 months back

                                            8:30 what about both?
                                            when chicks fall out of a tree,
                                            they run back up while flapping their wings.
                                            I don't understand why this isn't brought up, it's such a well known thing.,.

                                            • Alexander Melchers
                                              Alexander Melchers  1 months back

                                              Interesting to consider that both groups of animals that took to the sky (at least those that did in great numbers) - i.e. birds and pterosaurs - appear to derive from the same theropod lineage, thus probably had the same advantageous anatomical elements to help them fly...

                                              • Youssii
                                                Youssii  2 months back

                                                Will you do a video on argentavis? It would be interesting to know why flying birds are (now) so small!

                                                • cococate10
                                                  cococate10  2 months back

                                                  Surely it's possible that both the arboreal leaping and falling theory could be true?

                                                  • Vernon Flanders
                                                    Vernon Flanders  2 months back

                                                    Can we get a episode on prehistoric animals in south America when it was a isolated continent please 🙏🙏🙏🙏

                                                    • James Boaz
                                                      James Boaz  2 months back

                                                      I think, like the number of licks it takes to get to the center of a tootsie pop,
                                                      The world may never know.
                                                      Like you said, they think the missing link is a species we haven't found yet.
                                                      It's said that we have discovered less than 1% of the fossil's to be found.
                                                      I absolutely love the topic though and please keep videos like thos coming.

                                                      • MuFu23
                                                        MuFu23  2 months back


                                                        What's the name of that cute little guy?

                                                        • The Humble Observer
                                                          The Humble Observer  2 months back

                                                          I suppose I'm more curious as to why pterosaurs didn't develop bat-like wings instead of the single extended digit, unless there were species that did that, but we haven't found them yet. Surely bats aren't the only animals to develop that wing style?

                                                          And hey if there were pterosaurs with batlike wings back then,

                                                          I am totally obliged to call them dragons.

                                                          • John DC
                                                            John DC  2 months back

                                                            Maybe the early pterosaurs still required free fingers for grasping at branches, so sacrificing one digit for the wing would've been the most beneficial.

                                                        • firstname A last name N
                                                          firstname A last name N  2 months back

                                                          Pterosaurs got wings not from jump at ground, because it will build muscle leg not hand. Pterosaurs got wing from glide down from tree, same as bats.

                                                          • Sgt Fox
                                                            Sgt Fox  2 months back

                                                            PBS chose their team well, I like their hosts equally for different reasons

                                                            • Marlo R
                                                              Marlo R  2 months back

                                                              There was less gravity during the period of their evolution

                                                              • Marlo R
                                                                Marlo R  2 months back

                                                                ​@Hm Grraarrpffrzz

                                                                I haven't a clue to what would cause earth to have less
                                                                gravity and atmospheric pressure but it’s the ONLY logical explanation for bird’s
                                                                evolution into flight. What happens to humans that have prolonged exposure to a
                                                                low gravity environment. Take the ISS for instance. primary means of movement
                                                                is solely dependent upon your arms. Legs become useless and their muscles begin
                                                                to wither away. I believe if humans began reproducing in a low-gravity
                                                                environment then hundreds of generations down the line we'd evolve into having
                                                                appendages like birds. With tiny little legs. Hollowed out bones. In addition,
                                                                why else would they have evolved into flight. Not procreation. Not sustenance.
                                                                Not viruses. It had to be the weightlessness of their environment as the
                                                                contributing factor. It would also be the only logical explanation for ancient
                                                                civilizations to be able to transport 30-250-ton stones for all those
                                                                megalithic structures. So, in my opinion earth’s gravity fluctuates ever so
                                                                often. Whether it’s caused by magnetic pole shifts, an unknown foreign body in
                                                                our solar system, yada, yada, yada... Don’t know. Everyone keeps on saying
                                                                earth’s gravity has remained static for millions of years. That’s a bunch of
                                                                dung. If that is so why is our moon departing? Are any of our neighboring
                                                                planets moons leaving their host planet? Anyways. We’ll find out shortly after that
                                                                French company begins their research on human embryo development in earth’s

                                                              • Hm Grraarrpffrzz
                                                                Hm Grraarrpffrzz  2 months back

                                                                How so?

                                                            • x64Joxer
                                                              x64Joxer  2 months back

                                                              Thank you

                                                              • FunkyHonkyCDXX
                                                                FunkyHonkyCDXX  2 months back

                                                                We forget just how long a few million years really is.

                                                                • Dillon Keller
                                                                  Dillon Keller  2 months back

                                                                  I guess you could say that the evolution of Pterosaurs is still... up in the air

                                                                  • Robin Chesterfield
                                                                    Robin Chesterfield  2 months back

                                                                    What, the BEEP, is that thing with the huge, giant, orange...antler...thing! sticking out of its head? I've never seen that before! What? Why? HOW?! :P

                                                                    • John DC
                                                                      John DC  2 months back

                                                                      A lot of more derived pterosaurs have that weird crest thing, and what is stranger is there may have been some sort of colourful skin membrane that made it look like a gigantic sail. Obviously it wouldn't have been used like a sail, it was evolved likely due to sexual selection.

                                                                  • Peter Timowreef
                                                                    Peter Timowreef  2 months back

                                                                    Jumping from tree top to tree top and getting better and better at it seems the most logical explanation to me. Unfortunately I have no idea what I am talking about so wtf do I know.

                                                                    • Do The Do
                                                                      Do The Do  2 months back

                                                                      4:41 did you not just tell us it lived in the desert? No trees...

                                                                      • John DC
                                                                        John DC  2 months back

                                                                        Scleromochlus lived in the desert, but that doesn't mean any of its descendant species did as well.

                                                                    • Tom
                                                                      Tom  2 months back

                                                                      Did I miss it or did you guys really not give us the name of that cute fuzzy wide faced insectivorous pterosaur you keep showing?

                                                                      Because it's cute, I love it and not identifying it should be a crime.

                                                                      • Dangerous_stranger
                                                                        Dangerous_stranger  2 months back

                                                                        At 6:38 that long orange bit that extends off screen is a crest? How did that not get caught on things once they landed?

                                                                        • Jay Thomas
                                                                          Jay Thomas  2 months back

                                                                          This video pushes the assumption that Quetzalcoatlus actually flew, but I'm skeptical. The PBS Eons video on them didn't offer compelling evidence for it.

                                                                          • John DC
                                                                            John DC  2 months back

                                                                            There are scientific papers on the Internet that provide computer simulations as evidence for large Azdarchids actually being capable of flight.

                                                                        • Joseph Principe
                                                                          Joseph Principe  2 months back

                                                                          Awesome episode! I hope you have plans for something like "From Dinosaurs to Birds" planned; especially since Protodontopertyx is making headlines.

                                                                          • Cory Shannon
                                                                            Cory Shannon  2 months back

                                                                            I think that it very well could have been both. Here is my reasons why based on two bird behaviors and some lizard and rodents that glide.
                                                                            I have seen birds that are poor flyers and climb trees and hop about there are species of bird that still have claws on their wings like the hoatzin and kakapo. Seen birds that hunt on the ground and jump onto prey or away from predation road runners and secretary birds are a great example. I have seen animals that are gliders who can jump use it to jump onto trees to get away from ground threats and to hop from tree to tree acting like a poorer version of both examples.

                                                                            • Rolland Hawkins
                                                                              Rolland Hawkins  2 months back

                                                                              Too large for trees. More likely cliff climbers and dwellers. Chest size is to small for wing flapping flight. More likely gliders using thermals for altitude gains and soaring. Once ground level would have had to walked quadrupedaly to the cliffside and climbed to get airborne again. Kind of a mix of condor and flying squirrel.

                                                                              • Mu Effe
                                                                                Mu Effe  2 months back

                                                                                Why can't they evolved from both leaping and falling? They could have leap on to a tree trunk then fall down from branches.

                                                                                • Dustin Smith
                                                                                  Dustin Smith  2 months back

                                                                                  I'd like to see a cool episode describing how humans lost most of their fur.

                                                                                  • MrEmrys24
                                                                                    MrEmrys24  2 months back

                                                                                    Pterosaurs and birds coexisted peacefully until the Fire Nation attacked....

                                                                                    • tdannyV2
                                                                                      tdannyV2  2 months back

                                                                                      cover why we can't breathe in water ^^

                                                                                      • Nate
                                                                                        Nate  2 months back

                                                                                        I saw a video mention a recent juvenile ancient shark fossil being described, they thought it was a megalodon but I can’t find anything on it, is it true?