New discoveries are bringing the world of pterosaurs to life

The latest clues hint at where the flying reptiles came from, how they evolved, what they ate and more

An illustration of a pterosaur flying over rocky terrain with mountains, a body of water and the sun in the background.

Pterosaurs originated well over 200 million years ago during the Triassic Period and were the first vertebrates to take to the skies.

Warpaintcobra/iStock/ Getty Images Plus

In an eat-or-be-eaten world, flight conveys a bevy of benefits. A creature that takes to the third dimension can more easily escape earthbound predators, dine off a much broader menu or drop down on unsuspecting victims from above.