Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Chordata
Superclass Tetrapoda
Class Reptilia
Subclass Diapsida
Order Pterosauria
Family Rhamphorhynchidae
Subfamily Scaphognathinae
Genus Scaphognathus
1st Species Scaphognathus crassirostris
Other attributes
Time Range 155.7-150.8 mya
Location Germany
Name Meaning Tub jaw
Physical Dimensions 90 centimeter wingspan
Dietary Classification Omnivore
Scaphognathus is a rhamphorhynchid pterosaurian reptile from the Late Jurassic of Germany. It was officially named in 1861 by Johann Andreas Wagner. It was a somewhat unique rhamphorhynchid, and was thought to be either a species of Pterodactylus or Rhamphorhynchus before being found to be its own genus; as well as this, it once had the names of "Brachytrahelus" and "Pachyrhamphus", right before being renamed to Scaphognathus (due to "Brachytrahelus" and "Pachyrhamphus" already being occupied by a short-nosed weevil and a becard respectively).


Scaphognathus somewhat resembled its semi-close cousin, Rhamphorhynchus; it was a primitive pterosaur with 4 legs (two of which served as wings), 3 regular fingers on each hand (joined by an elongated 4th finger which supports the wing membrane), a small body, a long tail with a diamond-shaped vane on its end, and a mid-sized head with a toothy beak. However, it differed from Rhamphorhynchus in one notable way; whereas Rhamphorhynchus had a relatively long, pointed beak and a plainly simple head, Scaphognathus had a shorter, blunter beak and a crest atop its head. Most of its body (excluding its beak, crest, and wings) would have been covered in a fur-like covering called pycnofibers.


Scaphognathus was an omnivore, feeding mainly on insects and lizards, but also feeding on ferns and leaves. Its teeth were large and pointy, and were used to get a hold of struggling prey, but were also good at processing plant matter.


Unlike other rhamphorhynchids, Scaphognathus was a generalistic feeder, feeding on both plant and animal matter alike. Often times, it would hunt small animals, pouncing upon them and using its pointy teeth to make short work of them (as opposed to nabbing them with its jaws while flying around in the air); however, it would also use its toothy jaws to grind up leaves from the small shrubs found in its arid, lagunar habitat. As well as this, it had a large crest atop its head, used for display; whether it was used for attracting mates or for recognition by other members of its species is unknown. A comparison of its sclerotic rings to those of modern reptiles and birds indicates that it was diurnal; this sort of lifestyle benefitted the animal, as it would avoid competition with Anurognathus, a fellow insect-eating pterosaur that preferred to hunt during twilight hours.

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