The first great success was the pterosaur, a flying reptile that emerged in the Triassic period. Throughout the Cretaceous period, pterosaurs became increasingly diverse, adopted new systems and grew in size. The Pteranodon is among the best-known North American pterosaurs. Its skull was longer than its trunk and boasted a pointed crest that extended behind its head. Its jaws were deep and nearly toothless. The large vertebrae of its neck protruded. Pterosaurs were the largest flying creatures of all time and evolved independently of birds.

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