Dimorphodon (Di-more-fo-don), Two-form Tooth, (early Jurassic) lived on the Jurassic coast of England. It is one of the better known early pterosaurs. It has been compared to the Puffin, but does not appear to have had any adaptations for fishing. Traditionally, it was seen as a Rhamphorhynchid. Pterosaurs were divided into Rhamphorhynchids and Pterodactyloid. Rhamphorhynchids are a not completely natural group, which includes everything that was not a Pterodactyloid. Generally Rhamphorhynchids were small, tailed animals with narrow tooth beaks. Dimorphodon seems to have split from the main group of pterosaurs early (Witton 2013).
Genera and Species
Classification: pterosauria preondactylus dimorphodontidae
Species: D. macronyx, D. weintraubi
Senior synonyms: Pterodactylus macronyx.
Dimorphodon was able to move strongly on four limbs, climbing trees and chasing down prey. It had a broad beak, with an upper jaw that was larger than the bottom. The wing fingers were short, so it was not a continuous flier, but had a swooping flight pattern similar to modern woodpeckers. It weighed twice as much as other pterosaurs of similar wingspan. The torso was covered with a fur-like down and the wings hint at the fibers used to strengthen the wings. The skull resembles that of a modern puffin, with seven large fangs in the front followed by smaller teeth in back, and is attached to a short, strong neck. Some of the teeth had fine serrations. The teeth were larger in the upper jaw than in the lower with fang-like teeth in the front. The long tail has been reconstructed with a triangular vane at the end and there was a cruropatagium, a membrane connecting the legs. Both structures are found in the soft tissue of relatives (Dixon 2006).
WING LENGTH: 4 ft.
WEIGHT: 5 lbs.
It was a winged squirrel preying on small mammals, reptiles and invertebrates in the forest litter.
History of Discovery
Discovery, 1884, in UK named by Owen 1859 .
Found in Europe and Central America in forested environments.
Witton, M. (2013). Pterosaurs: Natural History, Evolution, Anatomy. Princeton New Jersey: Princeton University Press.
Dixon, D. (2006). The Complete Book of Dinosaurs. London UK: Hermes House.
Knol, R. (20123, November 3). Hanson Formation.