Rhamphorhynchus is a long tailed type of pterosaur with a wingspan around 5.9 ft.

The genus was quite successful: it is the most common pterosaur found in the Solnhofen limestone beds in Bavaria, Germany. These are the same strata where Archaeopteryx was found.


The jaws of Rhamphorhynchus housed needle-like teeth, which were angled forward, with a curved, sharp, beak-like tip lacking teeth.

Rhamphorhynchus had a long tail, stiffened with ligaments, which ended in a small, diamond-shaped rudder on the end of its tail which helped keep it stable when it was flying.


It probably ate small animals like fish, insects, frogs, and the like. Some scientists think it may have hunted fish similar to the way the Pelican does, keeping its beak in the water and flying along.


Fossils have been known since 1825. This genus was described in 1838 as Ornithocephalus, but in 1846, paleontologist Meyer set a new genus Rhamphorhynchus.


This classification is simple, but unfortunately it is paraphyletic, because the two suborders are not sister groups. But there is not enough evidence to see which earlier group the pterodactyloids arose from. So this is the best we can do: [1]

  • Pterosauria
    • Rhamphorhynchoidea
      • Dimorphodontidae
      • Anurognathidae
      • Rhamphorhynchidae
        • Scaphognathinae
        • Rhamphorynchinae
    • Pterodactyloidea

Rhamphorhynchus in The Land Before Time


Rinkus, the Rhamphorhynchus.

The character Rinkus from The Land Before Time VII: The Stone of Cold Fire is a Rhamphorhynchus. As can be seen in the image, Rinkus's tail is incorrectly shown to be flexible, when in real life, Rhamphorhynchus had a stiff tail used to steer in flight. His classification can be easily identified due to his similar appearance to the pterosaur as well as the pun in his name.


  1. Unwin D.M. 2003. "On the phylogeny and evolutionary history of pterosaurs". In Buffetaut E. & Mazin J.-M. (eds) Evolution and Palaeobiology of Pterosaurs. London: Geological Society of London, Special Publications 217, pp. 139–190.

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