Fossil Sites

There are very few sites in the world where fossil pterosaurs can be found in good condition.  Many fossils are small bones or parts of bones.  On a few sites, the conditions for preservation are so good that whole fossil skeletons can be found

Fossil Pterosaurs


Fossil Sites






Triassic Era, 220 million years ago.

The best quality site is in the Zorzino Limestone near Bergamo in Italy, where Eudimorphodon ranzi and other similar pterosaurs were found.  All of the Triassic sites contain the early long tailed pterosaurs.

Jurassic Era, 150 million years ago.

The Lithographic Limestone in Bavaria, Germany, contains some of the most complete pterosaur fossils ever found.  The conditions here were perfect for preserving fossils and even some of the soft tissues and wing membranes have survived.  Both long tailed and short tailed pterosaurs are found at this site.  These include Rhamphorhynchus and Pterodactylus. The Qaratai (Karatau) Mountains in Kazakhstan contains fossils of a very fine nature.  Here was found the pterosaur Sordes pilosus, which was fossilised with wing membranes preserved.

The Cretaceous Era, 70 million years ago.

Xinjiang in China is a site that has produced a number of interesting pterosaur fossils.  These include the pterosaurs Dsungeripterus wei and Noripterus complicidens which are very distinctive in their body features with large and powerful jaws. The Niobara Chalk and similar deposits in Texas and Kansas in the U.S.A. contain many of the largest pterosaurs like Pteranodon ingens and Quetzalcoatlus northropi.  These pterosaur bones are very fragile and are often found crushed.  Many individual animals have been found and skeletons have been reconstructed. The Araripe plateau in Brazil is a site that has provided a large variety of pterosaurs in very good condition.  Tropiognathus, Tapejara and Tupuxuara are three very distinct types of pterosaur from this site.

Main Fossil Sites