Long gliding reptiles appeared more than 260 million years ago.
Pterosaurs, the first flying creatures with backbones, appeared in the late Triassic period and flew over the heads of other dinosaurs. Scientists believe that some scavenged for dead dinosaurs as their main food source. The earliest pterosaurs had long tails. In contrast, pterodactyls that came later had short tails.
These early flying dinosaurs varied greatly in size. The pterosaur's wingspan was 16 feet. This is a length longer than most 21st century cars. Some pterosaurs were as big as small planes; however, others were not much longer than small mammals. Certain pterosaurs were also warm-blooded and covered with a thin layer of hair.
Xianlongs, another ancient reptile. Were similar to pterosaurs because they could also fly. Yet Xianlongs were more prone to gliding than flying. This lizard species lived 125 million years ago, which is before even the pterosaurs. Scientists believe these ancient reptiles probably ate fish and shellfish.
During the late Triassic period, the skies were filled with flying dinosaurs. Imagine what it would have been like to look up to see a pterosaur or Xianlongs overhead!