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[[quoteright:310:[[WesternAnimation/JonnyQuest http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/TURU1_6856.jpg]]]]
[[caption-width-right:337:At least it's not a pterodactyl.]]

->''"If dinosaurs are badly portrayed in movies, then pterosaurs have an even worse time!"''
-->-- '''Creator/DougalDixon'''

In prehistory, EverythingsBetterWithDinosaurs.

While it is true that our knowledge of prehistoric fauna is steadily improving, the depictions in popular media do not seem to be as up to date with modern science. While dinosaurs are increasingly averting the ScienceMarchesOn trope, however, the same cannot be said for the other dominant organisms during their 200-million-year reign. As a case in point, look no further than their close relatives, the pterosaurs -- the first vertebrates [[note]]that is, animals with backbones[[/note]] to [[{{Flight}} fly.]]

Of course, nothing adds to a prehistoric atmosphere like tossing in some of these "flying reptiles." However, it's a good idea to take most depictions of pterosaurs [[ArtisticLicenseBiology with a grain of salt.]] Most media will ratchet them up to being eagles or bats on crack, [[KidnappingBirdOfPrey snatching prey (like tasty humans) for feeding]] and being far more agile than they were in real life. Keep in mind that as in the case of most other prehistoric animals, RuleOfCool very much applies here.

If you see a pterosaur represented in any piece of fiction, the odds are good that it will have at least one of the common stereotypical (and inaccurate) traits listed at [[http://archosaurmusings.wordpress.com/2008/06/16/whats-wrong-with-pterosaurs-a-top-10/ this]] website and [[http://www.pterosaur.net/myths.php this]] website. The contents of these lists are summarized in the folder below.

This is a subtrope of ArtisticLicensePaleontology. See SomewhereAnOrnithologistIsCrying for the avian version and SomewhereAHerpetologistIsCrying for a reptilian version. See also GiantFlyer, AllFlyersAreBirds, and DinosaursAreDragons (because pop culture pterodactyls are often surprisingly similar to wyverns).



[[folder:List of Common Inaccuracies in Media]]
* [[YouKeepUsingThatWord Confusing the names "pterosaur" and "pterodactyl" as if they were synonyms]]. "Pterosaur" is used for the ''total'' group of the Mesozoic flying "reptiles"[[note]]using "reptile" here in its traditional paraphyletic sense, excluding birds[[/note]]. "Pterodactyl" is either a name for a subgroup of pterosaurs or a genus name for a particular pterosaur, ''Pterodactylus''. To put this into perspective, this would be as bad as calling every primate you met a "gorilla," if referring to the genus name, or "ape," if referring to the subgroup name; while it's acceptable to refer to hominoids as apes, it's not acceptable to refer to primates as a whole as apes, since monkeys, lemurs, lorises, tarsiers and bushbabies aren't apes. In a similar manner, pterodactyloids were indeed an advanced group of pterosaurs and the word "pterodactyl" can be used to refer to them, but "pterodactyl" and "pterosaur" do not mean the same thing.[[note]]It's quite telling how pervasive this trope is when ''spellcheck'' recognizes "pterodactyl" but not ''Pteranodon''[[/note]]
* Designing the pterosaurs with bat-like wings rather than anatomically correct pterosaur ones. This ranges from having leathery wings made of nothing but skin to having the whole wing membrane being supported by all the fingers. In reality, pterosaur wings were made of tougher, more complicated materials and were supported by one finger. They should also attach at the ankle or at the lower leg, not at the hip, and they should be rounded and smooth, not pointed or angular.
* Essentially, [[IAmNotWeasel Pterosaurs aren't Dinosaurs]]. Pterosaurs were closely related to the dinosaurs, being more closely related to each other than to modern crocodiles, but pterosaurs were not dinosaurs themselves.
* MixAndMatchCritters. Two pterosaur species will be combined into one hybridised design. This is a particularly good sign that the creators [[TheyJustDidntCare just didn't care]], considering how easy it would be to sort out.
* BiggerIsBetter. The pterosaurs on show will be truly gigantic, far larger than the fossil record can justify. There is some TruthInTelevision for this belief, as creatures like ''Quetzalcoatlus'' currently hold the record for the largest wingspans ever known. However, this is at best 12 metres, and is based on scanty evidence. In fiction, beasts with much larger wingspans are [[ExaggeratedTrope exaggerations]]. This is all the more obvious when the species being shown didn't even approach that size.
* ToothyBird trope applied to pterosaurs. Specifically, this is when a pterosaur (like the iconic ''Pteranodon'') is shown [[MoreTeethThanTheOsmondFamily having teeth, sometimes a horrifying set of gnashers]], instead of a toothless beak (the name "pteranodon" actually means "wings without teeth"). Occasionally this can be reversed when a normally toothy pterosaur (like ''Rhamphorhynchus'') looks like it had a run-in with an angry dentist.
* On that note, any and all pterosaurs being depicted with crests. While this was one of the things that made ''Pteranodon'' so famous, it should be noted that many pterosaurs lacked crests. Additionally, people will often make the mistake of depicting female ''Pteranodons'' [[AnimalGenderBender with crests like their male counterparts]]. Female ''Pteranodons'' actually had much smaller crests, if not no crests at all. Similarly, a pterosaur that should have a crest in real life would be depicted as crestless. ''Quetzalcoatlus'' and ''Pterodactylus'' are frequent victims of this, mostly due to ScienceMarchesOn.
* Pterosaurs in fiction [[DeathFromAbove will grab objects with their feet]] [[KidnappingBirdOfPrey and hoist them into the air]], presumably to be carried away and eaten. Pterosaur feet were designed for quadrupedal walking on the ground, or for climbing vertical objects or branch systems depending on the species [[note]]although that claim is subject to controversy[[/note]]. No known pterosaur had prehensile feet with opposable digits, which makes any depiction of pterosaurs picking humans up with their feet inaccurate.
* Giving a pterosaur a bendy, birdlike neck. While the flexibility of a pterosaur's neck varied with the species, none of them had the skinny, pipe-cleaner like necks that birds have.
* MisplacedWildlife or AnachronismStew, unless it is crucial to the plot (for instance, a LostWorld that contains a SoleSurvivor species is discovered and [[AnthropicPrinciple the plot rests on that premise]]).
* SmallTaxonomyPools, perhaps because the creators wanted to avoid the ViewersAreGeniuses trope, because they [[SmallReferencePools simply hadn't heard of them]], or because [[TheyJustDidntCare they just didn't bother to do their homework]]. ''Pteranodon'' is easily the most recognisable of all pterosaurs in popular culture, with ''Rhamphorhynchus'' coming a close second. ''Quetzalcoatlus'' may get a mention, but the chances of meeting any other pterosaur species in fiction is virtually nil.
* Missing pycnofibres (fuzz only known on pterosaurs). Pterosaurs are almost always depicted as scaly, despite the growing evidence that most, if not all, of them had pycnofibres.
* [[KillAllHumans Pterosaurs will have an inexplicable desire to attack or kill humans on sight]]. This one may be justified if the pterosaur in question is a PapaWolf or a MamaBear defending its nest, or has some other biologically plausible behaviour, but usually it's as if the pterosaurs have looked up the HumansAreBastards page in advance -- essentially, [[DinosaursAreDragons Pterosaurs Are Dragons]]. Some of the largest azhdarchids like ''Hatzegopteryx'' were large enough to have snatched up a human and swallowed it whole if it were hungry and nothing else of the right size was around.[[note]]The animal would be ''walking'' or ''galloping'' up to you instead of snatching you on the fly.[[/note]]
* Speaking of diet, pterosaurs are frequently depicted as exclusive fish- or meat-eaters. As an analogy, modern birds and bats don't ONLY eat fish or other animals, even if some species do. Many of the known pterosaur fossil finds do show that some species ate fish, but pterosaur diets were more diverse; other species fed on insects or smaller land vertebrates (Azdarchids like the aforementioned ''Hatzegopteryx'' were in fact most likely terrestrial hunters, rather than vulture-like scavengers as is still suggested in modern media), and some species may have eaten fruit and seeds too.
* [[WeaksauceWeakness Expect any fictional pterosaur that lands on the ground to be hopelessly lost]]. Real pterosaurs were more than capable of walking on firm ground -- not only were some of them were scarily competent at it, but new evidence now suggests that they could even ''take off from level ground'', using their wings to vault themselves into the air rather like vampire bats do today. Similarly, pterosaurs are frequently depicted as being bipedal like birds; in reality, pterosaurs were quadrupedal, as their musculature is focused on their forelimbs, while their hindlimbs are small, positioned at the very back of their bodies, and quite weak.
* On that note, you can expect any fictional pterosaur that finds itself in the water to be rendered temporarily flightless at best, or helplessly drown at worst. This is particularly bad, because not only is it based on nothing, it also has plenty of evidence ''against'' it -- evidence that isn't even all that recent! In reality, it's been proven by fossilized trackways and oft-forgotten traces of webbing between a fossilized pterosaur's toes that some (though not ''all'') pterosaurs would actually have been very good swimmers, floating on top of the water like ducks or seabirds, with their wings spread flat on the water. In addition, there is ongoing work that strongly suggests most pterosaurs (even those not typically found near aquatic environments) were quite capable of launching from the water if they needed to[[note]]though it wouldn't have been very easy, as [[http://www.amnh.org/var/ezflow_site/storage/images/media/amnh/images/explore/news-and-blogs/april-2014-news-and-blogs/pteranodon-over-water-gif/1326854-2-eng-US/pteranodon-over-water-gif_medium.gif this gif demonstrates]][[/note]]. The worst danger they would face in this situation would be the predatory aquatic reptiles that lurk beneath the surface.
* Lacking [[http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/d/d3/Pterosaur_wing_BW2.jpg the pteroid bone]]; this bone was found on each wing and controlled the front part of it. It was an anatomical feature unique to pterosaurs, as no other animal (living or extinct) has been discovered with anything even remotely similar.
* Portraying pterosaurs as [[AllFlyersAreBirds birds or the ancestors of birds]] -- while pterosaurs did fly, the actual ancestors of birds were true dinosaurs-more specifically, the maniraptor dinosaurs. Also, pterosaurs will often be shown to take good care of their eggs in the same way as birds, though more likely they simply laid their eggs and were done with that, like a modern lizard. There ''is'' a theory that larger pterosaurs would protect their eggs while said eggs were incubating and then dig them out of where they were buried, but even then it's believed that they'd leave the minute the eggs hatched.
* Like many dinosaurs (though not as much), pterosaurs in the media slip into RealIsBrown territory. In reality, while (unlike dinosaurs) there is no proof of ''what'' colors they were, we can be relatively confident that living pterosaurs would have been [[AmazingTechnicolorWildlife brightly and flamboyantly colored]]. Like most other reptiles, pterosaurs would have had excellent eyesight and been capable of seeing colors, and the ones with crests likely used said crests as visual signals to communicate with other pterosaurs.


* [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xM_pwc7rBcA This]] BC Dairy commercial.
* [[https://vimeo.com/69161796 This Beeline advertisement]] has a [[VisualEffectsOfAwesome really cool-looking]] "pterodactyl" hoist a man into the air with its feet and carry him to its nest, wherein he ends up [[spoiler:watching dinosaur cartoons with the babies on his portable media player]]. While the adult pterosaur is naked and bird footed, she also [[ShownTheirWork has long, rounded wings with pteroid bones on them and concept art shows that the babies have visible pycnofibres]]. Interestingly, the pterosaurs themselves look vaguely similar to a generic ctenochasmatoid, the kind of pterosaur ''Pterodactylus'' was.

[[folder:Anime & Manga]]
* ''Manga/InuYasha'' had a group of demons called 'demon birds'. Despite being called this, they were clearly pteranodon look-alikes. they certainly acted like birds in the way they perched and called, but they curiously had the diet of a vampire bat. They were fairly anatomically inaccurate for a pterosaur, but this can be forgiven as they were demons, not real animals.
* The 2006 remake of ''{{Doraemon}}: Nobita's Dinosaur'' featured ''Pteranodon'' that can walk on their hind legs and ''Quetzalcoatlus'' that hunt in flocks.
* The ''MagicTreeHouse'' film featured an anatomically accurate ''Pteranodon'' that has skin described as being similar to velvet (meaning pycnofibres) and even [[ShownTheirWork takes off by vaulting with its wings]]. However, it is too big and lives inland, and it's still called a dinosaur.
** He's also living in the wrong time period; while ''Pteranodon'' did live in the Cretaceous Period, this one was shown at the very end of that time period (right alongside ''TyrannosaurusRex''). In reality, ''Pteranodon'' had already gone extinct by that time.

* Surprisingly averted in the New 52's ''ComicBook/TeenTitans'' comics. Bunker is attacked by an anatomically correct ''Geosternbergia'', the only flaw being pointy wings.
* Also averted in the first issue of ''TeenageMutantNinjaTurtles: Turtles in Time'', which featured an anatomically accurate Azhdarchid pterosaur.

* ''Series/ClashOfTheDinosaurs'' has a ''Quetzalcoatlus'' that, although featuring some new discoveries about pterosaurs (namely, the catapult way of taking off and the complex nervous system), is also scaly for no good reason, can apparently detect dinosaur urine and other strange fictitious traits that make it look like the pterosaur analogue of a superhero. That's just one of the many problems with this documentary.
** It also portrays it as a soaring, raptor-like predator. Which is... unlikely, to say the least. Although things are looking much better than they once did for the flight capabilities of large azhdarchid pterosaurs, their anatomy -- particularly of the rather well-preserved ''Quetzalcoatlus'' -- is rather incompatible with this method of predation. Instead, it's much more likely they fed like cranes -- landing, then using their long neck to snatch up smaller prey while their long legs grant them a superior elevated position for doing so.
* ''Series/WalkingWithDinosaurs'' fell somewhat to ScienceMarchesOn about its pterosaurs, and the way how they bend the wings when on the ground is still anatomically impossible. They still didn't give much effort into their ''Quetzalcoatlus'', which was just a recolored and slightly tweaked version of the ''Ornithocheirus'' model (short neck, teeth and all). On the other hand, they did show several lesser known species of pterosaurs, like said ''Ornithocheirus'', the small South American species ''Tapejara'' (based on specimens now reassigned to the genus ''Tupandactylus''), or the early Triassic ''Peteinosaurus'' (found mainly in modern day Italy and other parts of Europe and somewhat better known to paleontology fans).
** The ''Ornithocheirus'' is oversized to be ''Quetzalcoatlus''-sized, and the ''Pteranodon'' is placed in Late Cretaceous South America, when it lived in Late Cretaceous North America.
*** They are more correctly placed in Late Cretaceous North America in the ''Sea Monsters'' spinoff.
*** Ironically, the ''Ornithocheirus'' and ''Pteranodon'' are the ''most'' accurate pterosaurs ([[ScienceMarchesOn for their time, at least]]) in the franchise; the biggest inaccuracies were the aforementioned MisplacedWildlife and size exaggeration, lack of pycnofibres and inability to swim.
** There are Mark Witton's (an iconic pterosaur expert) comments:
--> - Under-muscled necks and heads
--> - Ear openings in the wrong place
--> - Heads are too small
--> - The Tapejara/Tupandactylus wings are too long
--> - The Tapejara/Tupandactylus crest has weird ridges that aren't known in any fossil
--> - Lack of pycnofibres
--> - Wing membranes look ok to me. Not sure about the way the wing folds up, though.
--> - Ornithocheirus is, at best, 6 m across the wings, not 12. No pterosaur seems to have had a 12 m wingspan.
--> - Body musculature is a bit off
--> - Terrestrial posture is too sprawled
--> - Statement that '6 m spans are common' is wrong for the Lower Cretaceous. There were such animals there, but they are much rarer than smaller species
--> - Flight looks a bit slow
* ''Series/DinosaurPlanet'' features ''Quetzalcoatlus'' that are just long necked ''Pteranodon'' that nest inland for no good reason.
* ''WesternAnimation/WhenDinosaursRoamedAmerica'' has a ''Quetzalcoatlus'' that is clumsy on the ground and has a flexible, bird-like neck, but again ScienceMarchesOn.
* Inverted on ''Series/AnimalArmageddon'', where ''Quetzalcoatlus'' is among the very few creatures that are not hideous CGI abominations with no connection to reality.
* The documentary ''Flying Monsters 3D'' by DavidAttenborough attempted to be an aversion of this trope. Unfortunately, [[http://pterosaur-net.blogspot.com/2011/01/what-despair-pterosaurs-and-david.html several mistakes made through to the final version]]. At least the visuals are nice.
** They also got the quadrupedal launch and pycnofibres right, so there's a plus.
** It also quite possibly the ''only'' documentary to remember that [[http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-l7EOwP71ixA/U4pacaRJyVI/AAAAAAAAFAc/JSKi_fDzuxI/s1600/tupandactylus.png pterosaurs could swim]].
* Poor ''Quetzalcoatlus'' can never catch a break. Even the '11 documentary movie, ''WesternAnimation/MarchOfTheDinosaurs'' managed to badly screw up its anatomy. Besides the usual scales, [[TheyJustDidntCare it was depicted as a biped, and actually lacked its three small wing fingers]]. On top of that, the narrator claimed it was a scavenger, which is a notion which should have long been forgotten by docu-makers. [[note]]Notice above where it says its neck ''isn't'' flexible? Like a vulture, it'd need a flexible neck to dig into the carcass and root out bits of flesh, and it doesn't have one.[[/note]]
* ''Series/DinosaurRevolution'' is a precious aversion of this when it comes to its pterodactyloids; both the ''Anhanguera'' and the generic azhdarchids are possibly the most accurate pterosaurs in fictionland after the ''Pteranodon/[[ScienceMarchesOn Geostenbergia]]'' in Disney's ''Disney/{{Dinosaur}}'' (see below); unfortunately, its ''Rhamphorhynchus'' is still an ugly abomination barely resembling the real animal.
** The third episode had another sequence that briefly showed azhdarchids scavenging. Again, the notion that azdarchids were specialized scavengers is not likely true, but it's more likely that they were engaging in opportunistic carrion feeding, like some storks do today.
* ''PlanetDinosaur'' features ''Hatzegopteryx'', chaoyangopterids and more unidentified pterosaurs. Behaviour wise, they are accurate (''Hatzegopteryx'' being depicted as a terrestrial predator for example), despite both azhdarchoids being shown scavenging, but one critical error, thanks to ScienceMarchesOn, still applies. ''Hatzegopteryx'', despite being depicted as a terrifying terrestrial predator, ''was not as scary as the real thing'', because it was armed with a larger head and a much shorter, thicker neck, plus a muscular build, for taking down and ripping apart the ''adult'' dinosaurs, while in the show it ate only prey it could swallow whole.There are also a few small anatomical errors, such as pointy wings. [[/folder]]

[[folder:Fan Works]]
* Justified with Adam Squall/Terrordactyl, the protagonist in ''Fanfic/RiseOfTheGaleforces''. His pterosaur form is based on a ''Pteranodon'' with a misshapen, toothy beak, a CartoonyTail [[DinosaursAreDragons looking rather like a dragon's,]] prehensile feet, and bat-like wings; this is {{handwaved}} by the fact that the local genetics companies meddled with his DNA, as with the ''JurassicPark'' examples below which also appear in several chapters. Thankfully, he has ptero-fuzz, walks on all fours, has wing membranes supported by only one finger, and even uses the quadrupedal launch. Notably, [[BerserkButton he dislikes being called a dinosaur]], but he's cool with being called a pterodactyl, probably because he believes it refers to the subfamily rather than the specific genus.
** The ''Ornithocheirus'' that show up in later chapters behave a lot like the ''Cearadactylus'' in the first ''JurassicPark'' novel, being unusually aggressive and strong. At least they pick things up with their beaks instead of their feet like the Pteranodons do.
* Matt Frank's GodzillaNeo Universe gives us [[http://fav.me/d1lq71p a more realistic take on Rodan]] (see the Film folder below). He still has leathery wings and bird-like feet, but at least he's toothless and (again) has wings supported by the one finger.
* The ''WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic'' fanfic ''[[http://www.fanfiction.net/s/8085799/1/Pinkassic-Park Pinkassic Park]]'' somewhat averts this trope in that it presents dinosaurs and pterosaurs as different types of animals and makes the pterosaurs fuzzy, although ''Pteranodon'' is somewhat aggressive. In a CrowningMomentOfAwesome, [[CrazyAwesome Pinkie Pie]] actually tames and rides a ''Quetzalcoatlus''.
* The MassiveMultiplayerCrossover Fic ''FanFic/TheWorldOfTheCreatures'' contains a number of pterosaurs, which the text specifies as having stiff, complex wing membranes and pycnofibers. Seeing as how TetrapodZoology author, Darren Naish is a character, it's not surprising that the author has [[ShownTheirWork done their research]].
* [[BigNameFan Big Name]] VideoGame/{{Pokemon}} [[BigNameFan Fan]] Arvalis did a [[http://arvalis.deviantart.com/art/Aerodactyl-375770736 more realistic take on Aerodactyl]]; instead of having a batlike extra wing finger, its wings are supported by a second pteroid bone (referred to as an "aeroid") and its beak has ''Ornithocheirus''-like crests on the jaws. Interestingly, it also has a sail on its back like a ''Spinosaurus''.

* The ''Franchise/JurassicPark'' sequels famously depict ''Pteranodon longiceps'' as the token non-dinosaur prehistoric thing; of the two varieties, none is accurate. The first, which appears in ''Film/TheLostWorldJurassicPark'', is exactly like the Pteranodon of the seventies; leathery winged, bird necked, naked, can perch on trees. The second in ''Film/JurassicParkIII'' looks slightly more like a real pterosaur, but it is again naked, its wings also seem leathery, and it has freaking teeth ("Pteranodon" [[MeaningfulName means]] '''toothless wing''') and again grasping feet. Possibly justified as they could be mutants, like other cloned prehistoric reptiles in the movies.
** The YA novelization of ''Film/JurassicParkIII'' actually does state that the Pteranodons were genetically altered to be bigger/more impressive and are not the genuine prehistoric animal.
** They have [[AllFlyersAreBirds bird-like nests]] in ''III''. [[ArtisticLicenseBiology Pterosaurs do not raise their young in that way!]]
** This is played straight, to various degrees, in the spinoff video-games too. In episode 2 of Telltale's ''JurassicParkTheGame'', a ''Pteranodon'' attacks a rescue helicopter for no apparent reason.
** It just unintentionally bumped the chopper while chasing that flock of birds. But that in itself is another mistake: Pteranodons were fish-eaters, and probably wouldn't be too interested in birds. Azhdarchids, on the other hand, may have hunted terrestrial prey, but mostly ground-dwelling animals like small reptiles, mammals, and maybe dinosaur hatchlings.
** The Superbowl adspot for ''Film/JurassicWorld'' reveals that their ''Pteranodon'' will still be portrayed as DeathFromAbove, but also joined by a different pterosaur: ''Dimorphodon''. The ''Dimorphodons'' themselves, however, are depicted as aerial predators (the real life ''Dimorphodon'' was a harmless insectivore).
** Then again, it has been said in the canon a million times that the many animals that appeared in the JurassicPark films are just man-made abominations that barely resemble their RealLife counterparts.
* The movie ''Pterodactyl''. Imagine if the second variety of JP ''Pteranodon''s took steroids and decided to go bipedal. [[SoBadItsGood Granted, this is a movie that has one slice a man in half with its wing.]]
* This trope technically first appeared in early movies like ''Film/KingKong'', back when not much was known about prehistoric animals in general. At least, unlike below, the wings are those of a pterosaur...
* ''Film/OneMillionYearsBC'' has Loanna captured by an immense, bat-winged ''Pteranodon'' to be fed to its young. The ''Pteranodon'' and its young then get killed by an oversized, short-tailed, and also bat-winged ''Rhamphorhynchus''.
** Also from Creator/RayHarryhausen is ''Film/TheValleyOfGwangi'', with an iconic scene of a ''Pteranodon'' (toothed and bat-winged) being lassoed and wrestled by a cowboy.
* The third ''WesternAnimation/IceAge'' movie has the stereotypical cartoony pterodactyls; about the only thing remotely accurate was that the animal's wing was somewhat rounded in shape, instead of the pointy wings seen in other mediocre depictions (flight would be impossible if the wings were that pointy in RealLife). Also, they were quadrupedal on the ground, but they use the bipedal launch.
** There is some GeniusBonus, though. The [[http://img1.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20130426010156/iceage/images/0/03/5.jpg predatory flock of pterosaurs]] appear to be based on modern portraits of ''Pterodactylus'', namely having [[http://mpm.panaves.com/nh/pterodactylus_solo_web.png crests of skin on their heads]].
* ''[[Disney/{{Dinosaur}} Disney's Dinosaur]]'' features perhaps a rare aversion; here, a very anatomically accurate ''Pteranodon sternbergi'' (or ''[[ScienceMarchesOn Geosternbergia]]'') carries Aladar's egg in the beginning.
* A New Zealand version of ''Literature/JourneyToTheCenterOfTheEarth'' has pterodactyls that represent everything that is wrong with cultural perception of pterosaurs. Then again, the movie is really just horrible.
* The giant pterosaur ''Film/{{Rodan}}'' is a mutated Pteranodon (Its Japanese name "Radon", is a play on the name "Pte-RA-no-DON") that is scaly, walks on its hind legs, has teeth, and can grab things with its talons. Considering Rodan is supposed to be a fictional movie monster and not a realistic portrayal of a Pterosaur, this is intentional. He is, after all, played by a man in a suit, and his next appearance has him hanging out with Franchise/{{Godzilla}}.
* The Rite of Spring segmant of ''Disney/{{Fantasia}}'' showed what for the time and even by today's standards are pretty accurate ''Pteranodon'' that were shown as quadrupeds, eating fish and squid and picking them up with their mouths. On the flip side however, they are still extremely skinny and according to recent studies, they vaulted off the ground and did not roost on cliffs like gulls.
** Several of them are also seen hanging upside down from cliffs in a bat-like fashion, something that most modern paleontologists believe pterosaurs were probably incapable of.
* Elsa from ''WereBackADinosaursStory'' is a Pterodactyl with a long tail who [[IAmNotWeasel hates being called a bat]]. And, well, she has a monstrously inaccurate wing structure. She really DOES look more like a bat.

* [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZO6DGWsW6Pc This music video]], despite making the valiant effort to point out that pterosaurs and dinosaurs are not the same thing, is enough to make any pterosaur fan scream out in frustration; it claims that pterosaurs and birds are closely related (they're not), that pterosaurs laid their eggs in nests and took care of them (they didn't), that ''Quetzalcoatlus'' ate fish while flying (it didn't) and that most/all pterosaurs had teeth (only some did). Typical errors like pointy, batlike wings and tendency to use the word "pterodactyl" as if it's interchangeable with pterosaur [[note]]although the artist acknowledged this error in the comments, claiming that she used "pterodactyl" because it sounded cooler[[/note]] are also present. At least the song is catchy.

* ''Literature/WestOfEden'' features scaly, cold blooded pterosaurs that can't even take off from the ground. It completely illustrates what this trope is about, as it was written in the '80s and features things that would make even the paleontologists of the '70s cry.
* ''Literature/{{Dinoverse}}'' has Janine Farehouse BodySwap into a Quetzalcoatlus. A bipedal one with a short neck and no crest, who lives off fish and is inexplicably able to hang upside down on a cliff face. She also has surprising dexterity, but then again so do the kids who became a tyrannosaur and a ''Leptoceratops'', respectively.
* Literature/{{Dinotopia}}'s Skybax, which are essentially an undiscovered species of Quetzalcoatlus ridden by this canon's equivalent to [[DragonRider Dragon Riders]], are about as accurate as most of the other prehistoric creatures. Granted, they don't have fur and their necks are quite flexible, but once again, ScienceMarchesOn.
* ''Dinosaurology'' (the 2013 installment of the series started by ''Dragonology'') features pterosaurs that soundly avert this trope. The ''Pteranodons'' are correctly depicted as harmless fish-eaters. The azhdarchid (implied to be a ''Hatzegopteryx'') is correctly depicted as a terrestrial macro-predator, and just to show how much research they've done, isn't even recognized by the scientists who meet it due to the story taking place in 1907 (''Hatzegopteryx'' itself was not discovered and recognized by science until 2002). All of the pterosaurs are furry, quadrupedal, have pteroid bones, vault from level ground with their wings and are heavily muscled.

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* ''Series/{{Primeval}}'''s ''Pteranodon'' is fairly standard -- nothing especially wrong with it, but not exactly a transcendent portrayal -- but the ''Anurognathus'' in the same episode are bipedal scrawny things with the PiranhaProblem. Both lack pycnofibres.
** Its spinoff, ''New World'', features a pteranodon that's anatomically accurate (even with a straggly covering of pycnofibres), but bigger and meaner.
* The ''Series/{{Torchwood}}'' pterodactyls look like a slightly less mediocre version of ''Film/JurassicParkIII'''s second pterosaur variety. By "less mediocre", its just because it lacks teeth. Sans the appearance, Myfanwy also seems to be a super predator when even its anatomy dictates that injuring partially-converted Cybermen and ''Apatosaurus''-aliens would be a fairly hard task.
* The rhamphorynchid antagonists in episode 3 of TerraNova. To be exact, they lack pycnofibres and also have the PiranhaProblem.
** Not to mention that "rhamphorhynchoids" are [[AnachronismStew believed to have been extinct by the show's 85 million-year-old date]][[note]]Though [[http://www.askabiologist.org.uk/answers/viewtopic.php?id=2417 a Candeleros Formation specimen]] may indeed reflect a late-living "rhamphorhynchoid"[[/note]]. There is a larger and (slightly) better-looking pterodactyloid species that has a few cameos in one or two episodes, although it also commits the crime of being naked with pointed wings.
* The ''DoctorWho'' episode "Dinosaurs on a Spaceship" features abnormally aggressive Pteranodons (called "Pterodactyls" by The Doctor) attacking The Doctor, Rory, and Brian (Rory's dad) in one scene. Granted, the Pterosaurs don't try to grab anyone with their feet, but that still doesn't excuse the writers for having them try to stab the heroes with their beaks. Pteranodon ate fish, it would have no reason to attack people. Oh, and they don't hunt in packs either.

[[folder:Tabletop Games]]
* The [[http://www.wizards.com/Magic/Magazine/Article.aspx?x=mtgcom/arcana/591 Pteron]] from ''MagicTheGathering''.
* There are many species of these on Venus in ''TabletopGames/RocketAge'', the largest being the Winged Devil with a ten metre wingspan.

* The often overlooked (or purposely ignored?) U.K.R.D. released a number of dinosaur toys in the beginning of the nineties, among them a ''Pteranodon'' with an "interesting" approach. While its torso was correctly covered in "hair", it had the stubby legs of a goat, a tiny head and short beak/crest, and bat wings covered in thick scales.
* Chinasaurs. The term refers to toys that don't give any indication as to which manufacturer made them, only have the word CHINA stamped onto their underside. Though dinosaurs are more common, a couple of these secretive Chinese companies released a number of pterosaur toys as well, among them a sculpt that can only be described as the following: the figure looks like an ''Archaeopteryx'' (which ''wasn't'' a pterosaur, but a bird-like dinosaur) from above, save for its head, with a nicely sculpted plumage. Though the undersides of its wings are flat and bare, and its head resembles that of a heron, with a ''Pteranodon''-like crest extending from its back.
* There have been a few pterosaur-based ''{{Transformers}}'' toys throughout the years, some less stellar than others. The [[TransformersGeneration1 original]] Dinobot Swoop was a boxy-looking metal ''Pteranodon'' that rested on its hind legs. Can be forgiven, as he was never meant to represent a realistic animal. The standard ''Pteranodon'' mold from ''WesternAnimation/BeastWars'', however, ''was'', and fared badly -- huge crocodilian scales, a bird-like stance, prominent teeth. Skysaur, the Japanese-exclusive ''Quetzalcoatlus'' was similar, although he even had a bird-like beak and an incredibly short neck to boot. The Mini-Con ''Pteranodon'' mold and ''TransformersAnimated'''s Swoop-redesign were also old-school, biped pterosaurs, though like the original Swoop, they too were meant to be more mechanical-looking, so there is some leeway.
* The ''DinoRiders'' toy line had for the good guys ''Quetzalcoatlus'', ''Pterodactylus'', and several small ''Rhamphorhynchus'' which came with the ''Brontosaurus'' set. The villains had ''Pteranodon'', and as late addition also a ''Quetzalcoatlus''. A [[AmazingTechnicolorWildlife leopard-patterned]] one.
* The Cuddlekins toy line (a line of plush toys by Wild Republic) includes a fairly accurate Pteranodon plush. It's got a furry body, no teeth, non-grasping feet, and its wings are supported by a single finger rather than being bat-like. Granted, it does have its share of flaws, but it's pretty impressive in its accuracy nonetheless.
* The JurassicPark toyline has had pterosaurs (mostly ''Pteranodons'', but there's a ''Quetzalcoatlus'' and a ''Tapejara'' as well) since before they appeared in the movies. They have their wings correctly supported by a single finger, but all have grasping feet and their wings are connected to the hips instead of legs, and in some toys not connected to the body at all (though this is most likely for the sake of articulation). At least all ''Pteranodon'' toys, even the ones based on ''Film/JurassicParkIII'', are properly toothless.
* Surprisingly averted with [[http://www.yogee.com.au/lego-174-dino-5883-pteranodon-tower-takedown.html this]] {{Lego}} playset; while the wings are not connected correctly (and like the above mentioned Jurassic Park examples, this is probably just for the sake of articulation), the ''Pteranodon'' in the kit is very accurate. It's toothless, eats fish and even has rounded wingtips! It's still referred to as a dinosaur, though.
* Toys/BeanieBabies had Swoop the "Pterodactyl" ([[http://www.tycollector.com/beanies/bb-images/swoop-4268-2.jpg who looks like this]]), who was a classic example. He has pointy, batlike wings, a bipedal birdlike stance, and a prominent tail (despite evidently being based on a ''Pteranodon''). Probably the only accurate thing about him is that he doesn't have teeth. At least he's [[RidiculouslyCuteCritter cute]].

[[folder:Video Games]]
* ''VideoGame/{{Turok}}'' follows the ''Franchise/JurassicPark'' pterosaur model once more.
* Terry in ''[[{{Banjo-Kazooie}} Banjo-Tooie]]'' definitely has teeth, and no end of mucus. For a male, he's awfully possessive about his eggs.
** A baddie encountered in that same world is the Soarasaurus. It resembles a cartoony green pteranodon.
* In ''DungeonSiege II'', there is a type of enemy called the Terrak, which (except for the small tail) looks very much like ''Pteranodon''. What makes the paleontologists and dinosaur enthusiasts cry is the violation of the RuleOfCool that comes with these animals, which can be summed up in this question: "If they have wings, [[AcrophobicBird why are they always walking?]]"
* The first ''EccoTheDolphin'' game features a helpful ''Pteranodon'' in the {{Prehistoria}} levels who was essentially copy/pasted from an old artist's rendering of the species. He somehow manages to carry a bull bottlenose dolphin with no grasping hind feet.
* [[Characters/PokemonGenerationIFamilies Aerodactyl]], the Fossil {{Pokemon}}, plays this trope as straight as can be. This is justified, however, in that it isn't meant to represent any known species to begin with, and also because it takes elements from [[DinosaursAreDragons the two-legged, two-winged wyvern]] (which may explain why the [[OurDragonsAreDifferent Dragon-type]] specialist Lance has one on his team). As of 2014, there is a pterosaur species named after Aerodactyl, ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aerodactylus Aerodactylus scolopaciceps]]''. in a bizarre way, this technically means that Aerodactyl has been {{Defictionaliz|ation}}ed[[note]]But it can't be cloned and probably wasn't a gigantic super predator[[/note]]
* The Pteranodons from ''VideoGame/PrimalCarnage'' follow the ''Franchise/JurassicPark'' recipe as per usual, though in this case it's outright stated that all of the dniosaurs were genetically altered. Earlier designs in particular had misshapen wings and disproportionately small, short heads, though later models remedied these flaws and kept the animals toothless. Commendably, they are one of the few examples that use the [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A8hz4HGS_jc quadrupedal launch]] [[ShownTheirWork as real pterosaurs probably did.]]
* The first ''SilentHill'' featured two monster, the Air Screamer and the Night Flutter. Those creatures were based on illustrations from one of Alexa's favourite book, ''TheLostWorld'' by Sir Creator/ArthurConanDoyle. This being ''SilentHill'', the flying horrors haven been twisted by the town, with the Air Screamer resembling a hideously emaciated pterodactyl/bat hybrid and the Night Flutter possessing a human-like body and a wriggling mass of worms for a head.
* ''DinoCrisis'' also has pretty stock pterosaurs, which are apparently supposed to be ''Pteranodon''. They lack "fur" and are only seen on the ground when they die, flapping pathetically (although they landed in a bipedal stance at one point). They also attack Regina by -- you guessed it -- hoisting her up into the air with their feet, with one death scene showing them carrying away her 100+ pound corpse. Granted, if they did not attack her it would be [[AcceptableBreaksFromReality a fairly boring game and would make them a pointless enemy]], but their motivation is apparently to eat her. Oddly enough, at least one [[AllThereInTheManual strategy guide]] [[LampshadeHanging points out the errors of a]] ''[[LampshadeHanging Pteranodon]]'' [[LampshadeHanging predating on a human]] [[WildMassGuessing and speculates that they are attacking her for territorial reasons]].
* Pteranodons are enemies in the [[JungleJapes Amazon]] level in ''VideoGame/{{Strider}}'', and they look sort of allright outside of their leathery ponty wings. The fact they exist in the year 2048 is justified as they (like all other dinosaurs in the stage) were bio-engineered by the BigBad as one of his experiments.
* Pi'illodactyls in ''VideoGame/MarioAndLuigiDreamTeam''. Still, you could at least argue they're a fictional species from a fantasy world.
* ''VideoGame/StarFoxAdventures'' gives us the [=CloudRunner=] Tribe, which are bipedal ''Pteranodon'' with long tails and single-clawed wings that fold like birds.
* ''VideoGame/Spyro2RiptosRage'' has "pterodactyls" that look like birds, grasp like birds, and make hawk-like noises.
** ''VideoGame/SpyroEnterTheDragonfly'' featured "Flying Riptocs", which resemble bat-winged ''Pteranodon''.

[[folder:Web Original]]
* {{Mortasheen}} gives us the [[http://www.bogleech.com/mortasheen/pteracide.htm Pteracide.]] Granted, its skull looks ''nothing'' like any real pterosaur, it's next to naked, and [[OhCrap it leaks acid from its chest]], but hey, at least it's quadrupedal and supports each wing with one finger.
** To be fair, it's obviously ''supposed'' to be over-the-top.
* Naturally, Prehistoric TV Reconstruction Kitteh [[http://optimisticpainter.wordpress.com/2011/09/15/kitteh-in-terrordactile/ has some fun with this]].
* The whole idea of fictional pterosaurs being dragons with the numbers filed off is parodied with relish [[http://www.flickr.com/photos/babbletrish/6188862899/in/photostream/ near the bottom of this comic]].
* [[SCPFoundation SCP]]-[[http://www.scp-wiki.net/scp-346 346]], a miniature pterodactyl one of the researchers keeps as a pet.
* ''Franchise/{{Neopets}}'' features the [[http://www.neopets.com/pteri/ Pteri]]. As its name suggests, [[http://images.neopets.com/pp/pteri.gif its design is very reminiscent of a really small, adorable pterodactyl]] and it is native to [[{{Prehistoria}} Tyrannia]], but it's commonly referred to as a [[AllFlyersAreBirds bird]].
** Also from Neopets, [[spoiler:the "Lair of the Beast" (also in Tyrannia) is a standard scary pterodactyl]].
* Subverted in the ''Podcast/WelcomeToNightVale'', where a PTA meeting gets attacked by what TheNarrator pteranodons/flying dinosaurs. Later, however, he issues this correction:
-->''"Secret police are now reporting that the offending beasts were not pteranodons after all, but pterodactyls. Also, pteranodons aren't even dinosaurs, as the station had previously stated— just winged reptiles that lived about 70 million years after pterodactyls."''
** [[DoubleSubversion Subverted again]] in a later episode. Pteranodons aren't dinosaurs; they're arachnids.
* Discussed and defied in [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lo9NpyPVuwI this]] video, part of a series discussing inaccurate dinosaur toys.

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* Good luck finding a cartoon whose pterosaurs aren't seventies-style ''Pteranodon''s with long tails. ''TheFlintstones'' is the primary example of the typical western pterosaur.
* Petrie in ''TheLandBeforeTime'' looks like a seventies ''Pteranodon'', but at least the animators tried to lessen the blow by giving him subtle influence from theories that were new back then and eventually turned out true, like making him walk on all fours most of the time and not mentioning his diet. The sequels, however, threw these hints to the garbage can and made all pterosaurs vulture [[{{Expy}} expies]] that eat leaves.
** They do manage to get some things right, though. For example, it is probably the only piece of dinosaur media to remember the BizarreSexualDimorphism of ''Pteranodon'' (Petrie's mother has a stumpy crest and is rather short, his uncle has a massive crest and is really tall).
* ''TheSecretSaturdays'' averts this slightly with Zon. For one side, she has fur and wings somewhat shaped like a real pterosaur's and she walks on all fours. On the other hand, the wing structure itself is wrong, she is cold-blooded, she has five fingers (including an additional thumb), she can stand on two legs for quite some time and that is how she takes off. It is possible that the anatomical mistakes are just to make her appropriately "cartoony" for the show, as the authors do seem to actually do research.
* Turu the trained (and toothed) ''Pteranodon'' on ''JonnyQuest''. (To be fair, the "teeth" are [[http://i139.photobucket.com/albums/q318/Monster_Master316/Jonny%20Quest/Turu.jpg presented as a serrated bill]] -- but that is hardly accurate, either.)
* Terrorsaur's alt-mode in ''WesternAnimation/BeastWars'' is a hairless ''Pteranodon'' with a beak full of teeth, and a scaly skin. He moved on the ground by hopping on his tiny back legs. A funny sight, actually.
* ''DinosaurTrain'' has traditional cartoony ''Pteranodon'' as among the main cast, being scaly, cold-blooded, green, bipedal creatures with bat wings. Thankfully, at least the pterosaurs have wings that were supported by one finger, can fly actively and efficiently, and are acknowledged as not being dinosaurs, the ''Pteranodons'' do not have teeth, and several dinosaurs like the ''TyrannosaurusRex'' and the ''Troodon'' are equally more cartoony than realistic.
** [[http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-2hK_oCmhqUY/Tlv4RMMNH5I/AAAAAAAABXs/ELw_b5dqNso/s1600/dt.png Here's is how Tiny should have looked (alongside accurate images of Buddy and the ''Troodon'' guy).]]
* Terrible Dactyl from ''WesternAnimation/{{Dinosaucers}}'' was said to be a ''Pteranodon'', but his actual design was mostly ''Rhamphorhynchus''.
* One episode of ''JimmyNeutron: Boy Genius'' had a scaly ''Pteranodon'' that was able carry Sheen to its nest using it's feet. At least it didn't have teeth or a long tail...
* ''ImADinosaur'' has a feathered ''Sordes'' and a ''Pteranodon'' that lives inland. Both perch in trees, are bipedal & and have three fingers (including the wing finger).
* Bullzeye from ''ExtremeDinosaurs'' is a toothed ''Pteranodon'' with bat-wings, and he gains an additional set of arms upon mutation. As a result, he was mistaken for a dragon in one episode.
* [[{{Kaiju}} Dactar]] from the ''WesternAnimation/{{Rugrats}}'' special "Runaway Reptar" is this by virtue of being a Rodan {{Expy}}. Ironically, he looks more like an actual ''Pteranodon'' than Rodan himself did (aside from the teeth and long tail).
* The "pterodactyl" from the ''WesternAnimation/GravityFalls'' episode [[Recap/GravityFallsS1E18TheLandBeforeSwine "The Land Before Swine"]], which looks like an unholy mixture of all stereotypes, down to the scaly skin, being called a "dinosaur", having eagle-like hindlimbs and a bird neck, leathery wings, having a ''Pteranodon'' crest alongside rather mismatched teeth, making chicken-like nests and [[ArsonMurderAndJaywalking having zero body fat]]. Strangely enough, though, it walks quadrupedally, like a real pterosaur.
* Jet from ''Kung Fu Dino Posse'' has the same problem as Bullzeye: he has bat-wings and an additional set of arms. He also has a long tail, although it at least lacks the diamond-shaped tip.
* The beginning of the ''WesternAnimation/AdventureTime'' episode "Play Date" had a ''Pteranodon'' that carried Finn and Jake with its small wing fingers. At least it wasn't its feet for once...
* Pretty much any episode of ''WesternAnimation/TheFairlyOddparents'' that involves [[EverythingsBetterWithDinosaurs dinosaurs]] or TimeTravel will have pterosaurs that pretty much fit the entire criterion of inaccuracies listed on this page: bat wings, scaly skin, feet that grab humans from midair, desire to hunt humans for no reason, gigantic, etc.
* In ''WesternAnimation/TeenTitans'', a cartoon style "''Pteranodon''" (consistently referred to as a "pterodactyl") is one of Beast Boy's many animal forms.
* One of the strangest examples is present in [[WesterAnimation/LittlestPetShop2012 Littlest Pet Shop's]] "A Day At The Museum", where creatures resembling stereotypical ''Pteranodon'' appear... except that they are clearly ''birds'', with feathery wings, eagle-like talons and overall avian design, resembling eagles except for the head and tail.

[[folder:Real Life]]
* [[http://paleoking.blogspot.com/2011/05/strange-journey-of-david-peters.html David Peters]], an artist, is infamous for having rather...''controversial'' portrayals of pterosaurs that he is absolutely convinced are scientific fact. Among other things, he's convinced that pterosaurs were lizards or related to lizards, that all pterosaurs were bipedal and that the quadrupedal launch was physically impossible (instead, he thinks they launched [[http://pterosaurheresies.files.wordpress.com/2011/08/quetzalcoatlus72running588.gif like this]]), that ''Jeholopterus'' was [[http://www.reptileevolution.com/images/lepidosauromorpha/diadectidae/lepidosauriformes/fenestrasauria/pterosauria/jeholopterus/Jeholopterus588.jpg a vampire bat analogue with many unnecessary appendages on its body]] and [[SmallNameBigEgo that so many well-known scientists are wrong]]. His evidence for pterosaur anatomy as he sees it? Taking extremely poor photographs and putting them through photoshop and coloring every random crack he can find, claiming that that's some sort of feature that those ignorant scientists clearly never caught. Yeah.
* ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ludodactylus Ludodactylus]]'', which was one of the first crested ''and'' toothed pterosaurs to be discovered, got its name to reference this trope (its name means "Toy Finger"). The name was basically a RealLife lampshading of the fact that, at the time, such a combination was considered almost paradoxical outside fictionland.
* ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harpactognathus Harpactognathus]]'' was probably the only known pterosaur to even remotely resemble one of the ones seen in the cartoons and movies; it was a rhamphorhynchoid pterosaur with sharp teeth, a long tail and a crest and was also a predator, hunting and eating small animals from above. Even then, however, it lacks several other qualities of this trope (for example, it couldn't pick things up with its feet).
* While the Axtell Expressions puppet [[http://www.axtell.com/terryd.html "Terry Dactyl"]] is most likely not ''supposed'' to be accurate, the company was at least willing to add fur to the puppet, even pointing out that they did it for the sake of accuracy.
* Justified with the ''Pterodactylus'' sculptures at the famous Crystal Palace garden in London; they're scaly and have flexible birdlike necks, [[ScienceMarchesOn but for their time]], they were ''accurate''. Additionally, they're shown as [[ShownTheirWork typically quadrupedal]], with a few of them rearing up and spreading their wings just to look more impressive.
* A full-sized ''Pteranodon'' model hangs in the Milwaukee Airport, just in front of the food court. It's actually very accurate, with one wing-finger, no teeth, ptero-fuzz and even [[ShownTheirWork webbed feet!]]