Reconstructing A Fossil Pterosaur
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Elder, Nathan R. Farragut Career Academy
1. Reconstruct the skeleton of Scaphognathus crassirostis.
2. Make inferences about the mode of locomotion, feeding habits, and
adaptations of Scaphognathus crassirostis.
2. Transparent tape
3. Metric ruler
1. Introduce the Animal Kingdom-Birds, Evolution, Habitats, and
2. Discuss the Geologic Calendar Worksheet.
3. Discuss Early History, Paleozoic: Life Leaves the Sea. Pass out
fossils showing stems.
4. Discuss Early History, Mesozoic: Mammals Emerge, Reptiles Reign:
Amphibian Modern Skeleton
Reptilian Modern Skeleton
Aves Modern Skeleton
Mammalian Modern Skeleton
1. Phenomenological approach - pass out envelopes containing bones of
2. Direct students to assemble the skeleton in twenty minutes.
1. What is the main function of the bones that make up Scaphognathus
crassirostis's little finger?
2. List three features of S. crassirostis's skeleton that the animal
was adapted to flying.
3. The fossil of S. crassirostis was found in limestone that formed
in a warm sea-water lagoon. What could you infer were the feeding
habits and food of this animal?
4. S. crassirostis's wings were made of a delicate flap of skin.
If this flap of skin tore, the animal could not fly. Use this
information to explain how S. crassirostis might have had trouble
competing with bird species living during the Mesozoic Era.
5. Explain how the protruding fingers of the middle of the wing might
have been used to clutch the edges of the cliffs from which the
6. Explain how once a scientist has reconstructed a skeleton, the
scientists can use this and other information to infer the
appearance and habitat of the animal, since such a picture or model
is called a RESTORATION.