"Rhamphorhynchus gemmingi pterosaur" by Mike Beauregard / CC BY 2.0

Out of Their Eggs, Into the Sky: How Baby Pterosaurs May Have Taken Flight

Jun 12, 2019

By Cara Giaimo

Modern nature teaches us that flying isn’t child’s play. Newborn birds spend their early days in the nest, and bat pups don’t take off for weeks on end, often requiring prodding from their mothers.

But what about baby pterosaurs?

Some researchers think the young of these flying reptiles that lived in the time of the dinosaurs also stayed on the ground for a while, tended by adults. Others argue the opposite: Young pterosaurs could immediately fend for themselves, hatching and heading straight for the skies.

A paper published Wednesday in Proceedings of the Royal Society B supports this stirring vision, marshaling evidence from all known pterosaur embryos to argue that the prehistoric creatures were flight-ready from birth.

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