Nyctosaurus is an extravagant Genus of Pterodactyloid Pterosaur. Pterodactyloids were the types of Pterosaurs that usually had small tails if any, and normally lacked teeth. Nyctosaurus have lived 85 million years ago during the late Cretaceous.
The first fossil evidence of Nyctosaurus was discovered in 1876 by Othniel Charles Marsh in the Smoky Hill River dig site in Kansas and since has undergone several taxonomical revisions as most every organism does.
The name Nyctosaurus means “Night Lizard” or “Bat Lizard” since the wings of Pterosaurs are more like the wings of Bats than any other flying organism. In most respects Nyctosaurus is quite similar to Pteranodon, only much smaller and perhaps more specialized due to it’s large decorative head-crest. Nyctosaurus grew to a wingspan only 6-6 1/2 feet but it’s large crest was nearly as long as one of it’s wings and over 3 times the length of the skull! That must have been hard to maneuver at times. Nyctosaurus is also the only Pterosaur that has lost it’s clawed wing fingers. This means that it couldn’t have gripped surfaces and climbed like other Pterosaurs; it couldn’t climb tress or rocks and would have had to have hopped or flown to move over uneven surfaces.
It has been hypothesized that the large crest could have sported a membrane of skin between the two spurs and acted almost like a rudder, but so far, there has been no physical evidence of a membrane found to support it, although soft tissue does not always fossilize.