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aka: Ptero Soarer

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At least it's not a pterodactyl.note 

"For most of us, 'pterodactyls' are imagined as large, vicious and ugly gargoyles with lanky limbs, leathery wings and jaws lined with savage teeth, the sort of disreputable brutes we find in Arthur Conan Doyle's The Lost World, the Jurassic Park franchise – even a recent episode of Doctor Who."
— Palaeontologist Mark Witton, "Why pterosaurs weren't so scary after all"

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 Science Marches On, however, the same cannot be said for the other dominant reptiles during their 200-million-year reign. As a case in point, look no further than their close relatives, the pterosaurs — the first vertebrates note  to fly.

Nothing adds to the atmosphere of Hollywood Prehistory like tossing in some of these flying reptiles. Most media depicts these creatures as something like monstrous reptilian eagles or bats, carrying off such luckless victims like tasty humans or adventurous baby dinosaurs and being far more aggressive than they were in real life. To appear more monstrous, these pterosaurs are often depicted with traits such as exaggerated sizes, scaly reptilian skin (because Reptiles Are Abhorrent), a beak full of sharp teeth, grasping eagle-like talons to grab prey with, and leathery wings that make them look like a giant Bat Out of Hell. As in the case of most other Prehistoric Monster portrayals, Rule of Cool very much applies here.

Note that an inaccurate pterosaur by itself does NOT qualify as an example; Artistic License – Paleontology covers those cases already, so examples must be evil/antagonistic and inaccurate to qualify here. Nonetheless, there do seem to be a number of common traits to most such portrayals aside from the inexplicable urge to attack the protagonists on sight, including:

  • Dragon-like designs rather than anything resembling the real animal. This includes portraying them with a covering of bare skin or reptilian scales rather than the hair-like scales called pycnofibers they had in real-life, and giving them bat-like wings with multiple fingers supporting a leathery membrane, rather than a single finger supporting a more complex, layered arrangement of muscle, gristle, and even air sacs to maintain the wing shape.
  • Flashing beakfuls of fearsome fangs, even when they aren't supposed to have any (Many such portrayals are based on Pteranodon, for instance, despite its name meaning "toothless wing"). Relatedly, pterosaurs that did have teeth often have them greatly exaggerated for dramatic effect.
  • Picking up and carrying off victims with strong, bird-like foot talons. Pterosaurs had small and relatively weak hind legs, short feet, and short toes, meant simply for walking on land and unable to carry anything. They also generally lacked the size and strength to pick up a person, and even the biggest ones like Quetzalcoatlus likely landed on the ground to seize prey instead of snatching it on the fly.
  • Feeding strictly on flesh and nothing but. Pterosaur diets were likely a lot more varied than simply meat or fish, with many having beak and tooth shapes adapted for more specialized diets than your typical fictional people-guzzler. Some smaller species likely fed exclusively on insects, for instance, and a few may have even been fruit-eaters.
  • Being seen as backwards, maladapted, evolutionary failures that exist only to be a predatory menace. Pterosaurs were as much a part of the tree of life on Earth as any other animal, being the dominant flying vertebrates on Earth for over 150 million years, and as such were every bit as adapted for survival until their extinction at the end of the Cretaceous period (which was caused by a cosmic event beyond their control rather than any inherent failure of pterosaur evolution).

This is a subtrope of Artistic License – Paleontology. See Artistic License – Ornithology for the avian version and Somewhere, a Herpetologist Is Crying for a reptilian version. See also Giant Flyer, All Flyers Are Birds, Dinosaurs Are Dragons (because pop culture pterodactyls are often surprisingly similar to wyverns), and Terrifying Tyrannosaur (for when tyrannosaurs are the ones depicted as scary).

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    Anime & Manga 
  • Dragon Ball: Early installments feature many prehistoric animals in the setting (something that was gradually phased out as the series went on) and pterosaurs are among them. One even makes an appearance in the first episode as a Starter Villain. These pterosaurs seem to take after Pteranodon as the obvious baseline inspiration, but they're scaled up to near kaiju levels and look significantly more monstrous and cartoony, with scaly skin, teeth, lizard-like tails and talons. They're never referred to by any genus name, but they are referred to as "dinos", which appears to be treated as a blanket term for prehistoric reptiles in the series.
  • The☆Ultraman has two pterosaur-based monsters, Gadon the kaiju-sized Archaeopteryx who becomes hostile after being affected by the Devil Star, and later a smaller but equally dangerous creature called a Choirus who resembles closer to the classic pterosaur (albeit blue in colour).

    Comic Books 
  • Deff Skwadron: The squighawk, a creature leathery pointed wings, a long tail with an arrowhead tip, a fang-lined beak, and a triangular crest on its head, is portrayed as a ferocious and aggressive predator.
  • Flesh: The pterosaurs seen in Book 1 and Book 2 carry people off in their claws.
  • The Savage Sword of Conan: The monstrous pterosaur featured in "At the Mountain of the Moon-God", apart from being scaly, bipedal, and toothy, is Born as an Adult after incubating in an egg for thousands of years and can fly while grasping a fully-grown human in each hand. The narrative acknowledges that last inaccuracy before brushing it off.

    Comic Strips 
  • Calvin and Hobbes: In the arc introducing the Transmogrifier Gun, Calvin asks Hobbes to transmogrify him into a pterodactyl so he can terrorize the neighborhood. Instead, he is transmogrified into a bipedal cartoony "pterodactyl" which is no bigger than a duck, much to his dismay as he believes pterodactyls are big (which is ironic as his pterosaur form is the right size for a Pterodactylus) and his puny form won't be terrorizing anyone.
  • The Far Side: Pterosaurs are the subject of numerous strips, and mostly depicted as gigantic, heavy-bodied, toothy and ferocious carnivores who co-exist with cavemen in Hollywood Prehistory. They often serve as hilariously inappropriate bird-replacements:
    • A caveman has "trained" his pet pterosaur to "perch" on his finger, and has lost large chunks of his anatomy in the process, reducing him to using crude bits of wood as replacements.
    • A caveman family has set up a "bird feeder", which is some cows staked out on tethers for the pterosaurs to swoop down on and carry off.

    Fan Works 
  • The Bridge: Like several other Godzilla-series kaiju, Rodan is presented as having been genetically engineered by an ancient civilization as a planetary guardian, in this case being a gigantic pterosaur prior to modification. As this wasn't present in the canon material, it serves as a meta-level Hand Wave for any anatomical changes that brought him closer to this trope (anatomy-wise, at least — his personality is rather laid-back rather than being a predatory menace) than with actual pterosaur anatomy. After he's accidentally teleported to Equestria early in the story and gets magically transformed into a griffon, he has in place of the eagle parts of a normal Equestrian griffon the more reptilian or dragon-like features of his true form, raptorial talons and all.
  • Rise of the Galeforces: Two pterosaur genera are among the resurrected Mesozoic creatures to appear: the Pteranodon from Jurassic Park III appear regularly, and are joined by Ornithocheirus later in the story. The JP3 Pteranodon are unchanged (talons, teeth, and all), and the protagonists even end up having to go through almost the exact same aviary scene as in the film at one point. The Ornithocheirus meanwhile behave a lot like the Cearadactylus in Jurassic Park (1990), being unusually aggressive and strong, though at least they pick things up with their beaks instead of their feet like the Pteranodon do. Most notable of all, however, is the Author Avatar whose super alias literally is "Terrordactyl" - his main schtick being that he's actually a JP3-style Pteranodon who was even further enhanced by the DNA of other creatures including that of one of the human protagonists, giving him a long, dragon-like tail, an absurdly fast Healing Factor, and the ability to assume a human form himself.
  • Terra Monstrum: Rodan is one of the main Kaiju characters in this Godzilla fanfiction, taking on a more prominent role than in the films' canon after Godzilla himself is permanently killed by Mechagodzilla. Despite being stated to be a "pterodactylid", Rodan doesn't look too different from the versions in the franchise proper which mostly play the trope straight themselves; specifically, he resembles a mix of the Showa and Millenium versions with the added addition of bird-like talons and serrated, blade-like wings. Despite his monstrous appearance and fierce temperament, though, he's still one of the good guys.

    Films — Animation 
  • The Good Dinosaur: Thunderclap and his clan are a band of hostile, toothed and eagle-clawed pterosaurs that are the closest to actual villains in the film.
  • Ice Age: The third film, set in a Lost World with Living Dinosaurs, features two flavors of this trope: pink ones resembling giant Rhamphorhynchus with short Pteranodon-like crests and dangerous blue ones with orange stripes, red eyes and pointed teeth which mostly resemble oversized Pterodactylus. When Buck, Crash, and Eddie ride one of the pink ones to Lava Falls, a pack of the Pterodactylus-like pterosaurs follow after seeing the possums for prey, which leads to a daring Aerial Canyon Chase.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Age of Dinosaurs: Scaly pterosaurs appear that carry people away with their feet.
  • The Dinosaur Project: The characters are attacked by carnivorous nocturnal anurognathid pterosaurs, which are also depicted as flightless and instead get around by leaping from tree to tree like monkeys.
  • Godzilla: Rodan, a giant pterosaur-dragon Kaiju, is usually portrayed as highly aggressive and territorial, in contrast to the more reactive Godzilla and pacifist Mothra, although he isn't actively evil the way King Ghidorah is. Whether or not he's an actual pterosaur or just looks sort of like one varies — in Rodan he's a mutated giant Pteranodon, while in Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019) he dates back to the Permian period, meaning that he predates the pterosaur order by over 60 million years.
  • Jurassic Park:
    • Generally speaking, Pteranodon are portrayed as highly aggressive predators of land-bound targets, usually humans, which they grasp with prehensile feet and carry off into the sky. Depending on the film in question, they may or may not have teeth.
    • Jurassic World: The Pteranodon (toothless this time) still portrayed as Death from Above, and also joined by a different pterosaur: Dimorphodon. These are depicted as aerial predators (the real life Dimorphodon was a harmless insectivore/hunter of small animals), and physically resemble emaciated bat-wyvern creatures with toothy jaws instead of beaks. Notably, this film is one of the first pop-culture work to depict Pteranodon plunge-diving for food like pelicans or gannets, something they likely did in real life, and it also remembers their sexual dimorphism (having short, stumpy crests when female). The Pteranodons that get appeared up in the prologue of Jurassic World Dominion inexplicably use the same models as this movie, but one is shown diving into the water, showing that this behavior was not limited to the modern-day hybrids from Jurassic World proper.
    • Jurassic World Dominion: The Quetzalcoatlus in the prologue are depicted as terrestrial, quadrupedal macro-predators. A revived one also appears in the present day, attacking a cargo plane the human protagonists are flying in; this one is much larger than the real animal, almost the same size as the plane itself. Its menacing the humans is, in this case, rather realistic — azhdarchids, the group Quetzalcoatlus belongs to, likely hunted terrestrial prey, particularly ground-dwelling animals like small reptiles, mammals, and dinosaur hatchlings.
  • King Kong (1933) is probably the Trope Codifier, featuring a memorable scene where a hungry pteranodon tries to snatch Ann out of Kong's lair. Kong makes short work of it.
  • Kong: Skull Island: The Leafwings and their larger cousins, the Psychovultures, are said to be evolved descendants of pterosaurs in supplementary material. Both species are very aggressive, with a flock of Leafwings attacking the Monarch crew in the movie and carrying off a crewmember that they dismember in midair.
  • Legend of Dinosaurs and Monster Birds: The Rhamphorhynchus in the movie is gigantic, much bigger than the real animal, and extremely aggressive.
  • The Lost World: The first prehistoric creature encountered is a massive Pteranodon that grabs a peccary with its beak and carries it to its perch to eat.
  • The Lost World (1998): The team attempts to escape the plateau in a hot air balloon. Summerlee observes nearby Quetzalcoatlus, and they attack the balloon, causing Myar to fall. The balloon also suffers a large tear and drops back to the plateau.
  • One Million Years B.C. 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.
  • Tyranno's Claw: A massive pterosaur menaces the main characters several times, and later snatches the (unnamed) female lead to its nest to feed its young.
  • When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth: While Tara is hiking back to his tribe, which has been taken over by the overzealous Kingsor, he is carried off by a giant Rhamphorhynchus.

  • Dinotopia: Pteranodon are portrayed as dangerous, aggressive man-eaters, which prey with impunity on anyone who enters their territories in the lower reachers of the Ancient Gorge where they make their carrion-strewn lairs. Depending on the specific work, they range from mindless monsters to respected but savage gatekeepers of the World Beneath.
  • Jurassic Park (1990) features an aviary full of Cearadactylus. While they're depicted as furry, quadrupedal fish-eaters, they also fill the "airborne terror" role. Granted, the reason they're so aggressive is much more plausible than most portrayals — they're naturally territorial and aren't too keen on people wandering into their nesting ground. They're also erroneously referred to as "birds" and "flying dinosaurs", which is made all the more jarring by the fact that the chapter they appear in is told from the perspective of a legitimate paleontologist.
  • Spooksville: The plot of The Deadly Past is kicked off by the gang being attacked by a pterodactyl, who proceeds to take Cindy to its nest.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Danger 5: Played for laughs, with a "pterodon" played by a man in a bad rubber suit. It talks, and attacks Jackson with a broken beer bottle after sexually assaulting a woman.
  • Doctor Who: "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. They hunt in packs and, while they don't try to grab anyone with their feet, they instead try to stab the heroes with their beaks.
  • Monster Warriors: The Warriors battle monstrous pterodacyls in "Pterodactyl Terror" and "The Secrets of the Lost Canyon". The inaccuracies are Justified is this case these are not supposed to be real pterodactyls, but creatures conjured out of an old monster movie by the series' Big Bad.
  • Odd Squad: One episode, "6:00 to 6:05", features Precinct 13579 being attacked by a small pterosaur after a mass breakout from the Dinosaur Room. The odd thing is, the pterosaur is quite clearly a Pterodaustro, a filter-feeder that has the Cretaceous equivalent of a flamingo, and is depicted as being about half the size of a real one.
  • Primeval: New World: The Pteranodon from the first episode is a hyper-aggressive man-eater that spears things with its beak, sometimes walks on two legs, and abducts a child. It's particularly odd since the original Primeval series featured a much less aggressive Pteranodon.
  • Torchwood: Pterodactyls look like a slightly less mediocre version of Jurassic Park III'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 Historian Himself's "Earth Beasts Awaken" project, based around a Kaiju Apocalypse, features the monstrous "Terrorsoar" as the main harbinger of humanity's demise.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dinosaurs Attack!: Pteranodon are depicted eating the president and his first lady, and then go on to nest in Mount Rushmore and feed tourists to their babies.
  • Dungeons & Dragons: The Pterafolk of Chult are Beast Man versions of this trope. They are bipedal, with a toothy beak and Pteranodon-like crest, green scaly skin and grasping feet. They also have bat-like wings, but they can magically retract them when on the ground, turning them into humanoid arms. Culture-wise they are barbaric savages who will attack jungle travellers.
  • Exalted: Downplayed by sky titans. Their artwork shows them as fairly realistic azhdarchid pterosaurs, but their otherwise share the trope's propensity for preying on human-sized, land-bound victims that they divebomb like meteors and pull into the heavens to toy with before swallowing whole.
  • Oko Yrrhedesa: Aggressive pterosaurs are the main danger in crossing a hanging bridge in The Eye of Yrrhedes scenario. You have to fight them, and they can throw you off the bridge, and there is also a chance that the whole construction will fall apart due to their attacks, taking down everyone on it.
  • Pathfinder:
    • Dimorphodon is portrayed as a man-sized, aerial predator with a venomous bite, naked skin, and a hooked beak, unlike the much smaller, arboreal generalist it is thought to have been in real life.
    • 2nd edition portrays Pteranodon as a toothy, draconic monstrosity with a mane of spiny quills, while Quetzalcoatlus has grasping talons and abilities that encourage it to hunt prey from the air and carry victims away into the sky.
  • Warhammer: The Lizardmen have units of Terradon and Ripperdactyl Riders, as well as Terradon steeds for heroes and generals, creatures depicted as scaly, floppy-winged, toothy man-eaters with claws strong enough to carry stones to drop on enemies' heads. The Ripperdactyls in particular are highly aggressive, blunt-jawed predators specialized for strafing and attacking land-bound targets.

    Video Games 
  • ARK: Survival Evolved: The game's pterosaurs run the gamut:
    • The Pteranodon has teeth, scales, bat-like wings, and the ability to pick up humans (a technique used by riders to harass enemies).
    • The Dimorphodon has feathers and Killer Rabbit tendencies.
    • The Quetzalcoatlus is way bigger than the real thing and strong enough to carry off a mammoth as well as a small building on its back. Ironically, it is portrayed as being constantly airborne like an albatross, despite being one of the most terrestrial of pterosaurs.
    • The Tapejara is a carnivore (it probably ate fruit in real life), and has the strength to carry three people and pick up another with its claws.
  • Big Karnak: Prior to battling Osiris, the god will transform himself into a gigantic purple pterodactyl, backed up by several blue ones, to fight you. Said monster is either Osiris' Attack Animal, or Osiris himself turning into an animal form to fight you before reverting to humkanoid, but it's never explained.
  • Dino Crisis 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 a fairly boring game and would make them a pointless enemy, but their motivation is apparently to eat her. Oddly enough, at least one strategy guide points out the errors of a Pteranodon predating on a human and speculates that they are attacking her for territorial reasons.
  • Dino Rex: The Pteranodon is shown to be a Maneater, whith one female in particular snatching up the human losers of each match and taking them to her nest to feed them to her hatchlings. She will even occasionally devour them whole!
  • Dino Trauma: In outdoor areas, expect pterosaurs to constantly swoop from above and attack you with their beaks. Like every other creature in the game, they're hostile by default.
  • E.V.O.: Search for Eden:
    • Pteranodon (Ptenodon in the English localization) in the optional level Mt. Brave are depicted as having a tail of Rhamphornynchus and happen to be among the game's most annoying enemies because they fly above you then grab you with their feet and drop you from high on the hard ground below which causes massive damage (even if you are upgraded with strong body armor). If you somehow manage to bypass them and jump off the mountain's top, you will evolve into a pterosaur yourself; and can upgrade your body by mix-and-matching parts of various pterosaurs, birds and non-avian dinosaurs.
    • A secret hidden level above the clouds also has actual Rhamphorhynchus (dubbed Rhamcys) guard secret power-ups, despite the game's cartoonish aesthetic they are also a pain to deal with because they can instantly fly towards you and quickly peck you to death.
  • The Hunter Primal: The Quetzalcoatlus, while physically mainly accurate (they have pycnofibers and a realistic skull shape) show a Kidnapping Bird of Prey-like behaviour similar to the ones seen in Primal Carnage and Dino Crisis in which they grab the player's character with their feet to then let you free causing to suffer a swift death by showing you how gravity works. Ironically and in spite of the fact that Quetzalcoatlus was one of the most terrestrial species of pterosaur, they are never seen on the ground.
  • Jurassic Park: The Game: In episode 2, a Pteranodon (based on JP III's version, down to having teeth) attacks a rescue helicopter for no apparent reason.
  • Lord of Gun has a fire-breathing pterodactyl as one of the two Dual Boss enemies in the swamp level, alongside the tree demon. It swoops in and out of the screen to ambush you periodically.
  • Plants vs. Zombies 2: It's About Time: "Pterodactyls" show up in the Jurassic Marsh levels, resembling cartoony toothy Pteranodon but coexisting with "Raptors", Stegosaurus, and T. rex. They're scaly, bipedal, and can pick up zombies with their feet, dropping them off on the near side of your lawn to attack your plants from behind. If charmed by the Perfume-Shroom, however, they carry zombies off the lawn for a One-Hit Kill instead.
  • Pokémon: Pokémon Red and Blue gives us Aerodactyl which, despite its name coming from "pterodactyl", barely resembles real pterosaurs at all, looking more like a wyvern than anything else. Later, Pokémon Gold and Silver introduced Skarmory which takes a bit of influence from pop-culture pterosaurs as well, particularly with its Pteranodon-like head with teeth. Both of these have appeared in supplementary material playing the Kidnapping Bird of Prey role a lot of these creatures occupy, with Aerodactyl's very first appearance in the main series anime having it menace the main cast with carnivorous intent and pick up Ash in its talons.
  • Silent Hill: The first game features two monsters, the Air Screamer and the Night Flutter, based on illustrations from one of Alessa's favorite books, The Lost World by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. This being Silent Hill, 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.
  • Sonic and the Secret Rings has King Shahryar (played by Dr. Eggman) getting snatched away by a Pteranodon, which picks up Shahryar with its beak instead of its feet.

    Web Original 
  • DinoHunter2's Ages: The Pterodactyl Legend plays this trope as straight as can be, albeit with traits of various real-world pterosaurs in many of its skins. An almost wyvern-like aerial menace with vulture-like traits, its passive ability enables it to Snatch objects and other Legends with its talons, and its grapple attack has it pick up its enemy and drop it to the ground. It can also Scatter enemy forces with its non-combat "roar" ability (a terrible screech), and its main attacking ability is to rush forward beak-first, allowing it to Spear through multiple opponents.
  • Mortasheen, naturally for a creation of Bogleech, has plenty of monster designs inspired by weird and wild real-world biology, so its takes on this trope can get quite odd indeed. Granted, Bogleech normally does his research on the animals his monsters are based on, so it's almost guaranteed that these monsters were intended to be deliberately over-the-top.
    • One of the oldest monsters in the archive is the Pteracide, an acid-spraying flyer that's next to naked with a skull that looks nothing like any real pterosaur, but is quadrupedal and supports each wing with one finger. Of all the monsters to play with this trope, it's the only one so far that actually uses powered flight, since it was created before Bogleech's design rules for this world came around (one of which is that monsters inspired by winged creatures should generally be flightless, and if there's an exception, it had better be for a very good reason).
    • The Ectosaur class introduced the Gunkergeist, a flightless ghostly azdharchid with the upper and lower parts of its beak fused together to form a tubular snout. It uses this to spit gobs of Grey Goo at living creatures, converting them into "slime ghouls" which it tends to like a mother bird with its young.
    • Also from the Ectosaur class, and with even more Body Horror thrown in, is the Vaporgeist. It looks like the Crystal Palace depictions of pterosaurs crossed with a disembodied pair of lungs, bearing a branching tubular snout instead the beak that can spray clouds of poisonous gas.
  • Neopets:
  • RWBY: The Teryx is a Grimm creature, first seen in Volume 7, resembling a skeletal dinosaur with pterosaur wings on its back. It can grow to almost the size of an Atlesian gunship and, like all creatures of Grimm, is a vicious monster that seeks to cause as much carnage among humanity as it can.
  • Welcome to Night Vale:
    • Subverted; a PTA meeting gets attacked by what Cecil identifies as 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."
    • Subverted again in a later episode. Pteranodons aren't dinosaurs; they're arachnids.
  • The idea of fictional pterosaurs being dragons with the numbers filed off is parodied with relish near the bottom of this comic.

    Western Animation 
  • Danger Mouse: A pterodactyl resembling a toothy Pteranodon menaces DM in his flying car in "150 Million Years Lost" and is able to grab the car with its feet.
  • Dink, the Little Dinosaur:
  • DuckTales:
    • One episode of the 1987 series, "Dinosaur Ducks", features a giant "Pterodactyl" that resembles a Rhamphorhynchus with a Pteranodon-like crest, bat-like wings, eagle-like talons, and a bipedal stance. It is shown attacking planes that come across its territory, ripping off the wings of smaller ones with its feet, and it apparently lays oversized eggs in a bird-like nest.
    • The 2017 reboot portrays its pterosaurs more accurately, though still has instances of this:
      • The "Meet Scrooge!" short features a bird-footed Pteranodon with two toes in front and one in back, apparently naked (though the art style makes it hard to tell), does not have enough fingers (though that could be chalked up as cartoony art simplicity), and has weird-looking wing membranes attached to the hips.
      • In "Nightmare on Killmotor Hill!", Lena transforms into a monstrous version of Magica that is reminiscent of this trope, growing bat-like wings with small fingers, but she also drops down on all fours similar to the quadrupedal posture of real pterosaurs.
      • "Quack Pack!" briefly shows a photo of Donald getting carried off by a Ludodactylus-looking pterosaur with tooth-like serrations lining the beak and bony rods supporting the wingnote . At least it's carrying him with its beak instead of its feet (which still have two toes in front and one in back).
  • Extreme Dinosaurs: Bullzeye is a toothed Pteranodon with bat wings, and gains an additional set of arms upon mutation. As a result, he's mistaken for a dragon in one episode.
  • The Fairly Oddparents: Any episode that involves dinosaurs or Time Travel will have gigantic pterosaurs that desire to hunt humans for no reason.
  • Futurama: "A Clockwork Origin" has a robotic Pteranodon that carries off Fry to feed him to its young.
  • Gravity Falls: In "The Land Before Swine", the Pterodactyl is portrayed as an aggressive predator with batlike wings, eagle-like talons, and a fanged beak; first coming to the characters' attention when it snatches up Waddles the pig to carry off to its nest, which is shown to have several human skeletons inside. Later, its newly hatched offspring is ready to eat humans right out of the shell, as shown when it devours Old Man McGucket the moment it hatches.
  • Il Était Une Fois...: In "In the Land of the Dinosaurs", the protagonists get attacked by oversized Rhamphorhynchus.
  • Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius: One episode has a scaly Pteranodon able carry Sheen to its nest using its feet.
  • Jonny Quest: Turu the trained (and toothed) Pteranodon is depicted as gigantic and bipedal, and is shown grabbing Dr. Quest with his feet and carrying him away through the air. He is unrealistically durable, surviving multiple hits from bazooka rounds (although they eventually send him plummeting to his doom into a tar pit).

    Turu reappears briefly on The Venture Bros., since it was inspired by and occasionally crosses over with Jonny Quest. In "Venture Libre", Turu is Dr. Venture's first taste of the weirdness going on in the jungle of Puerta Bahia, which his own rogue creation has turned into a refuge for victims of unethical super science. Though still enormous, grasping and damaging a jet the size of a Concorde, this incarnation of Turu has no teeth-like serrations on his bill. The tendency to mix up pterosaur species is lampshaded when one of the refugees demands that Dr. Venture be killed for being a super scientist and for murdering Turu:
    Dr. Venture: Is Turu a pterodactyl?
    Carl the Cheetah-Man: Pteranodon, you monster!
    Venturestein: See, he not even good at science.
  • Justice League Action: In "Booster's Gold", Green Arrow is attacked by a prehistoric flying reptile and correctly identifies it as a pterosaur. Then, less than a minute later, he refers to it as a dinosaur. So close.
  • The Simpsons: The final segment of "Treehouse of Horror XXIX", parodying Jurassic Park, has Agnes Skinner transforming into a bipedal pterosaur that tries to eat people (namely her son's arms).
  • The Transformers: "Dinobot Island Part 1" features all kinds of Mesozoic reptiles, including a pterosaur which decides that one of the Token Human characters is a snack.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Ptero Soarer


"It's a birdcage..."

The Jurassic Park films famously depict Pteranodon among the token non-dinosaur prehistoric creatures. The ones that appear Jurassic Park III lack the downy covering many pterosaurs had, have leathery wings and toothed beaks (ironically, the very name Pteranodon means "toothless wing"), and are able to carry off a teenager with their talon-like feet; they also construct bird-like nests, and the young are also less flight-capable than they should be and are unrealistically aggressive. The junior novelization of the movie states that the Pteranodon were genetically altered to be more monstrous and impressive and are not the genuine prehistoric animal.

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