Smilodon's Pteranodon Story

A friend of mine (whose name is confidential, but you can find him in many places as "Smilodon", or using the feline as a motiff anyway) wrote a story based on the magnificient pterosaur Pteranodon longiceps, the most famous pterosaur ever and a worthy target of revision on the information about it (as John Conway recent research showed, we still need to restudy the animal). I find it quite good even if it has some flaws:

Year 1
Nursery Island

An enormous school of silver fish swim through a peaceful lagoon off the coast of a small tropical island, their shining bodies wriggling through the azure waters. Suddenly, a massive shadow appears on the surface of the water, and the cluster of fish suddenly bunches together into a tight ball of sparkling flesh and scale. But it is already too late, the fish are doomed.
Above the surface, the maker of the shadow looms. Silhouetted against the burning sun, the hunters shape circles over its quarry. Leathery wings spread out from the creature’s furry, muscular shoulders and attach at the ends of the four clawed feet. A gigantic head balances at the end of its sinewy neck. With a woosh of air it flaps its organic airfoils and circles higher into the sky. It lowers its head, sun glistening off its gold, curving bill as it peers down at the dark shadow of its prey beneath the surface. The pointed crest of bone atop the skull follows angles up to the sky as the monster focuses in on its aquatic victims. Suddenly, the creatures body angles steeply toward the clear cyan sea and then with one swift motion it folds its wings back to its stubby legs and spirals like a rocket into the sea with a jet of white water. Bubbles swirl around the creature’s lean form as it thrusts its neck violently forward. The fish react by swirling away in a flash of silver scales, but their hunter is so large that before its grey furred body is fully submerged it has already engulfed half of its tiny victims in its scissor-like maw. The rest of the school dart frantically away in a burst of bubbles, but the predator snaps its beak out again and the rest of the fish are gone.
The hunter returns to the surface, a fish filled pouch of wrinkled skin hangs from its lower jaw. The whole attack lasted less than ten seconds, but it was more than enough time for this female Pterandon longiceps (a type of flying reptile called a pterosaur) to catch over forty fish. Water drains off the oily fur of her body as she sits on the clear surface, warily surveying the skies. With a swift snap she unfurls her pale wings and she takes off toward the island.

Beneath a pile of dirt and conifers a clutch of twenty-three pallid eggs begins to stir. Tiny squeaks emanate from the delicate ovals as the miniature creatures attempt to escape. The leathery shells suddenly begin to bulge outwards as the babies begin their escape. Small cracks form in the eggs and clear fluid leaks onto the floor of the dark chamber. A small yellow beak finally pokes through a shell, followed by a wet, downy head with a massive jet black eye. This is a male newborn, or flappling, Pteranodon. As the youngster emerges from his ovular prison he and his siblings around him continue to call. From outside the hollow a shrill, yet short, squawk calls back to the brood. The flappings’ calls persist as dust fall from the ceiling. Whatever answered their calls is now trying to dig them out. The diminutive male pushes out of his shell, his awkward body flopping onto the dirt floor, and from above, light finally filters down onto his glistening body.
This little pterano is called Othy, he has finally completed the first of life’s challenges: escaping his egg.
Through the opening in the mound, the baby takes his first look at his mother. The flapping’s long tapering snout, beady eyes and ungainly limbs are exact copies of hers, only miniaturized. The little reptile pushes himself up onto all fours, and now his wing membranes reveal themselves. The tiny airfoils of these babies are already fully developed and only need a thorough drying before Othy and his siblings can take off. Even though he and his nest-mates are out of their eggs, they continue to call to their mother, and she calls back. This helps reinforce the bond between them, and it means that the young will be able to recognize their mother easier. This is incredibly important, because this family is not alone.
Surrounding this nest is a colony of over twenty other pteranos, all are female and all are tending a nest. The constant squawking and peeping of the mothers and young emanates throughout the island in which the colony as taken up residence. Situated in the middle of a tropical ocean, these pterosaurs came here two and a half months earlier and built their nest mounds out of dirt and conifers from the scrubby plants around the island. The pterosaurs came to this island to breed because it is quite far away from the mainland, and thus there are no terrestrial predators to raid the nests, or attack the mothers themselves. Another plus is that the waters surrounding the isle are abundant in food, thanks to a warm ocean current that has created a complex coral reef habitat around the teardrop-shaped chunk of land. Pteranodon are completely carnivorous, and rarely feed on anything but fish and squid, and like most reefs, this one is rich in various species, from gigantic flesh eaters to minute filter feeders.
Back at the nest, the newly hatched flapplings, including Othy, are already able to walk and have begun to scuttle about the nest. The wing of a pterosaur is very different from any other flying animal. A single finger stretches out farther than the rest of the arm and acts as a support for the wing membrane, which attaches all the way down to the pterosaur’s ankle. This odd configuration makes it incredibly difficult for land locomotion, and as the tiny flapplings hop around the nest they look incredibly awkward.
Othy continues to explore the dirt-and-plant nest, and suddenly, he gets a feeling in the pit of his stomach, something he has never felt before. He is feeling hunger, and he is already pre-programmed knowing what to do about it. Driven by instinct, he calls up to his mother’s looming form and soon the rest of the flapplings do the same. The mother then answers their tiny squeaks and with a single stroke of her gigantic wings, she takes to the air, leaving the young on the ground below.
The flapplings, however, are not being abandoned as she goes to hunt like a bird. They start beating their wings as fast as their tiny wings can manage while dashing forward on their hind legs. Soon they are out of the nest, the wind picking up under their tiny wings, and they are now in their element.
While the young were taking off, the mother was circling above, waiting for them to catch up. Soon the little family of pterosaurs is soaring together through the skies, the warm thermals emanating from the ground, lifting mother and young together into the warm, saline-filled air.
It is not long before the group comes to a small lagoon, and the mother immediately begins hunting. Her brood are just as instinctive in their habits, Othy among them. He flies high above the water, his wings beating the air, unlike his mother, who simply has to soar. Soon, he spots a school of congregating fish, their tiny silver bodies about half as long as his scissor-like beak. The flappling angles his wings downwards, and he plummets to the water at a sharp eighty degrees. The minnows swarm away from the pterosaur in a blur of shining scales, and Othy’s jaws clamp painfully on a cluster of bubbles. The little pterosaur returns to the surface, hungry, and unsatisfied.
After an hour of hunting, the mother calls her young back to her, each one with their gullet filled with little fish. The family of pterosaurs makes there way toward the center of the island, the setting sun turning their white fur and wings vibrant purples and reds.
Othy spots the colony in the distance, pteranos teeming over the scrubby earth and soaring to and from the sea.
A loud screech pierces Othy’s ears, causing him to spin his tapering head around. Just behind him, one of his sisters is being harassed by another Pterandon. About half the size of his mother, and sporting a much longer, bluish crest, Othy instinctively recognizes this as an immature male. The marauder pecks and slashes with his chopping bill, aiming for the face and eyes of the youngster. The little baby shrieks in horror, fish pouring out of her throat pouch. With a swift motion of his neck, he aggressor snaps up the falling fish. The family mother spins backward toward the attacker, who immediately turns tail into the sunset.
As the family of fliers returns to their nest, Othy unconsciously logs in his mind the attack on his sister, whose eye is now swollen shut from a stab of her attacker’s bill.
In the little pterosaur’s mind, things are either logged as assets, or dangers, and the juvenile Pteranodon was Othy’s first glimpse of danger.

Year 1
The Western Interior Seaway

Othy now flies alone. Measuring about a quarter of his mother’s size, minnows are no longer on the menu. His crest is also developing, although right now it is not much more than a small greyish-blue bump.
About three weeks earlier he left the nursery island and had begun island hopping west. For a while he had no trouble flying between the islands, his wings could carry him for miles on end. But now the winds are not on his side, and he has had to rest on the ocean’s surface to regain is energy.
At the moment he is hunting, but the open ocean is not as plentiful in fish as the coastal seas of his island nursery. Out here it is like a desert made of water, an endless expanse of open blue, ruled by the currents and the winds that bring life giving plankton to the surface allowing filter-feeding fish to thrive, and in turn, predators like Othy. But swells don’t usually last long, and in days a once fish stocked area of the sea will once again become a lifeless waste of pure water.
Over the horizon something catches Othy’s keen black eye. He spots distinctive silhouette of pterosaurs, and many of them, diving down toward the water. His month old mind knows that where there are others of his kind, there must be food. With a single flap of his gigantic wings he heads off toward the others.
What he finds is probably the oddest thing he has encountered in his life. A gigantic flock of white backed pterosaurs has crowded onto the oceans surface. But these are not Othy’s kind. They are Nyctosaurus lamegoi, a slightly smaller, more social relative of pteranos. Their crests are not the simple strut of bone like their cousins, but an elaborate, chocolate brown, two-pronged structure that sweeps back impossibly far behind their heads. When the pterosaurs dip their white bills into the water, their oddly shaped adornments are the only part of their heads to still be above the surface. When the flock do this simultaneously, it creates a rather imposing sight, with hundreds of spikes sticking up into the sky.
Othy does a double take and stays clear of the odd creatures before him, soaring high over the scene. It seemed that the nyctos were feeding on a school of fish just below the surface, and now Othy could see that some of their prey was even jumping out of the water. Othy’s mind could not comprehend why a creature would jump out of the safety of the water when so many predators were milling about on the surface. But suddenly, his wonders were answer as he spotted a silvery-blue, triangular fin slice through the waves, displacing several nyctos who protested nosily with guttural croaks. As if on cue, several more fins wedge through the congregating flyers and then disappear once more.
A group of Squalicorax pristodontus, a kind of fast swimming shark, have forced a school of small fish to the surface of the water. The ball of fish is now trapped between the hungry jaws of the sharks below and the scissor-bills of the pterosaurs above. With more than enough fish for both species, the only squabbling that goes on is the occasional bump the squalix give to the pterosaurs as the torpedo through the bait ball.
Othy now realizes he is not in danger, and he lands clumsily on the gently rolling sea. The nyctos pay no attention to his arrival, and continue to snatch the wriggling fish from the water. Othy paddles to the edge of the flock, a safe distance from the other pterosaurs. Although an adult pterano would be quite a bit bigger than the average nycto, Othy is still less than quarter of their size and a single bite from one of other pterosaurs could kill him.
The young male pterano lowers his bill into the fish filled froth and immediately he feels the writhing creatures bump into his beak. With a quick snap he catches two in one go and he tosses his head back to swallow his catch. After a quarter of an hour he manages to catch at least ten of the dashing fish. But suddenly, Othy realizes that the sharks have discontinued their runs, and have disappeared from the scene. The nyctos continue feeding, oblivious to their absent hunting partners. Then it was as if the the center the flock of pterosaurs had been thrown out of the water. White wings and crashing waves were the only thing visible to Othy for moment, and then he spotted it. A colossal set of jaws has risen out of the water and had sent numerous nyctos tumbling into the sky. The long, brown and tan mottled head held a pterosaur in its vice like grip, the blood drenched reptile hung limply, its wings rolling in the waves. The attacker’s eyes were like yellow sparks that darted wildly from pterosaur to pterosaur as they tried to make their escape. The monster then dove down, its long, sinewy back arching into the water, ending in a flat, fin-like tail. The water was stained red as it pulled its catch beneath the waves. The whole attack took less than ten seconds, and the whole time Othy was watching from the edge of the flock, unmoving, frozen with fear. But as soon as the monster was out of sight he hastily took off, splashing out of the rusty water and into the air.
The pterosaurs’ attacker was a Tylosaurus proriger, a monstrous reptile, belonging to a group known as mosasaurs, and the apex predator of the Late Cretaceous seas. Unlike most reptiles here, tylos and their kin are close relatives of lizards and snakes. However, their land-living relatives will never match the immense size and ferocity that the mosasaurs demonstrate the in the Cretaceous.

Year 2
Western Coast of the Seaway

Othy has reached the mainland. The rocky cliffs jut out from the water like the back of a sea monster. As he flies toward the slat gray rock face, he spots giant pterosaurs taking off from the vantage points at the top of the precipice. The wind was picking up, sending waves crashing into the stone, water splashing high enough to drench the flying reptiles perched on the ledges. The gray sky overhead threatens rain, and made the wind seem even stronger.
From his position out at sea, Othy can already tell that the pterosaurs are not of his species; similar, but not the same. These are Pteranodon sternbergi, the largest species of sea going pterosaur. Their white bodies are contrasted with the black stretches of skin that keep them aloft on the choppy winds. Like most large pterosaurs, they have large crests protruding from their skulls, but they are unlike the long spike of Othy’s kind, or the convoluted structure of the nyctos. The crest of the sternbergs are large, leaf-shaped and flattened, and are decorated with fearsome yellow eye-spots lined in black. The feature extends into the pterosaur’s furred face and creates a jet black mask that extends down into the dramatically upturned bill.
The sternbergs’ odd adornment catches Othy by surprise, and he decides to avoid the sinister looking pterosaurs and lands on a rock ledge half way of the escarpment, well away from the larger flyers. With great care he grooms his fur and wings, picking out any salt or parasites that cling to his body. At four years of age his crest hasn’t grown much and not a deal more than bump on his cranium. However, his wingspan has increased dramatically, and measuring about half his adult size, he is a master of the air. After his quick grooming he takes off again soaring along the coast, his wing membranes buffeted by the winds.
The ground at the top of the cliffs is dense sup-tropical forest, covered in massive redwoods and other conifers. Moss and lichens cling to the bark, and ferns squeeze out from between the sky-scraping pillars. Trees are a wonder to Othy, as the island he had visited had few, and were usually small, only about his height. These massive trunks of wood and needle cast shadows over the cliffs, draping him in a blanket of gloom. The only sign of animal life in the trees is the occasional high pitched call that is barely audible over the crash of waves on rock. As Othy flew on the cliff face began to slope down and soon it became a flat, white sandy beach that created a border between the sea and the forest.
Suddenly, his attention is dragged away from the land, and his eyes are dragged back to the sea. He spots a massive torpedo-shaped object making its way through the water just off shore. In Othy’s four years of life he has learned many things while at sea and one of these is if you follow a sea reptile for long enough it will lead you to plentiful food. The curious pterosaur dives down to a more reasonable observation level, but soon finds that the rough waters obscure is view. Judging by the silhouette, the animal is about the same size as most mosasaurs he has encountered, and moves in a similar manner, surging its tail in a paddle-like manner. His many experiences with marine monsters have taught how high a these predators can leap from the water, and he keeps well away from reach.
It is not long before the reptile leads Othy to the mouth of a slow moving river that spews fresh clean water into the ocean. As the monster heads upstream Othy hesitates. He has never seen an ocean going animal go into freshwater, but soon his hunger forces him to continue his trailing.
Fifteen minutes after following the reptile, it reveals itself. Armour plates break the surface as the monster’s black scaly back is revealed to Othy. A U-shaped jaw with a pair of yellow eyes bursts into view. Air jets from the creatures nostrils and then it descends back into the murky waters. In the split second of the creature surfacing Othy had already categorized it as an unknown creature. Every other sea animal he has encountered had smooth, streamlined skin. This monster was an armoured giant, covered in bumps and nodules from nose to tail.
Ten minutes pass as Othy continues to follow the mysterious beast. They have reached an area where the river has opened up into a vast lake, and now the creature heaves itself out of the water onto a white beach. With stubby black legs it pulls its bulk onto land and rests with its toothy jaw open allowing the little bit of the suns rays that filter down through the clouds to heat its scaly body. This monster is a Deinosuchus rugosus, a giant alligator and king of the coastal estuaries. However, unlike the other reptiles of this time, it is cold blooded, and cannot generate heat internally, and so it must warm itself using its surroundings. As the clouds break overhead the gigantic reptile soaks up as man rays as it can.
Now having realized that the aquatic reptile will not be leading him to food, Othy surveys the area. The lake is an immense, ovular shape surrounded by white beaches and dense greenery. As he swoops in closer to the shore he notices a group of colossal animals crashing through the forest toward the beach. He lands on a rock jutting from a cliff face on the far side of the lake to observe these new creatures.
These are Othy’s first glimpse at the true rulers of the primeval world. These are dinosaurs, and at about ten times his length, the largest of the animals make short work of the trees that block their path to the water. Walking on all fours, their leathery hides shaking with every step, they honk continuously to each other using bright red and purple nasal sacks situated on sides of their orange and brown banded faces. As they dip their wide beaks into the blue waves their thick tails point awkwardly into the air.
These titanic beasts are Gryposaurus latidens, large herbivores belonging to one of the most successful group of dinosaurs during Othy’s time, the duck-billed hadrosaurs.
Youngsters about a third of the adults’ size honk and squeal playfully as they splash in the shallows, white foam being kicked up by their antics. The adults ignore them and continue drinking, occasionally looking up to survey the dark waters and the gloomy forest alike.
Abruptly, from the edge of the herd, a call rings out from one member as a set of powerful jaws spring from the trees and slam into its flank. The sickening crunch of bone emanates from the attack as teeth as teeth meet ribcage knocking the edmonto to the sand, sending dust into the air. A second set of menacing jaws descends upon the skull of the herbivore, and the crunch once again reaches Othy’s sensitive ears. The once peaceful beach has become a bloodbath as the whole herd of grypos panics, sending dust flying into the air, obscuring anything else from view. After five minutes of honking, stamping, and the occasional growl or crunch of bone, the dust settles on the beach to reveal a horrific scene. A pair of bipedal figures looms over the carcass of the fallen grypo. The rest of the herd must have retreated back into the forest, leaving a wreck of trampled earth and vegetation in their wake. The blood stained maws of one hunter releases a triumphant roar that rings in Othy’s ears, causing him to step back a foot from the edge of his perch. The yellow green skin of the monsters ripples with muscle as they thrust their bony skulls into corpse pinning it beneath their powerful three toed feet. With a single thrust each hunter pulls its muscular neck back, revealing a chunk of liver or muscle hanging from between the blood smeared teeth. As the creatures continue to feed their comparatively small arms twitch and flex, do little else to aid in supplying the bone-crushing mouth with sustenance.
These predators are Gorgosaurus libratus early relatives of the lineage that will eventually lead to the famed Tyrannosaurus rex. Unlike their later cousin, these beasts are not completely designed for strength. They have lean, powerful legs that allow them to chase swift prey, as well as ambush. To allow for high speed pursuit they also have a very flexible tail that allows them to turn at an incredible velocity.
Othy watches as a trio of pterosaurs descends from the skies above and lands on the beach. The brownish creatures are quite oddly shaped compared to the pterosaurs Othy is used to, with exceedingly long necks and straight grey bills. The gorgos pay no attention to the flyers, and continue to strip the carcass to their heart’s consent. The ungainly pterosaurs hunker down and begin grooming their oily fur. They know they will have to wait their turn for to feed.
Othy takes dives off the cliff, spreading his wings as he catches a thermal. His fist view of terrestrial life in this world was not a pleasant one, and he instantly decides to avoid the mainland as much as possible.

Year 3
Western Interior Seaway

The wind buffets Othy’s wings, making the flaps of skin tremble. The dark ocean below mirrors the grey sky, and even though he is well away from the water, Othy flies warily, as if he believes the ocean could swallow him up at any moment. Rain drenches his wings, causing them to droop at the ends. A clap of thunder causes him to tense all his muscles as he attempts to keep on course.
Now six years old and almost full size, Othy as been gliding from island to island across the massive sea. He has encountered many storms in his short life, but none as dangerous as this. He knows where the nearest land is, a small island to the east, but as the winds have picked up he has only traveled southward.
He closes his clear, third eyelid to avoid getting salt and foam in his eye. As he flaps madly trying to keep his altitude he is blown and buffeted. It takes all his strength to remain flying, all of his muscles aching violently. He tries to wiggle the tips of his enormous wings, but fins that they have gone numb in the torrential rain. A sudden gust sends his left wing flipping up over his back causing him to spiral down toward the sea. As he attempts to right himself shots of sea water pelt his white fur and face, temporarily blinding him. He flips his eyelid in and out, trying to right his vision, but by the time his eyes clear he has already plunged beneath the violent sea. The last thing he seas before he looses conciseness is the sun peaking out from behind a cloud.
The young pterosaur awakens in a daze. He lifts his heavy head from a bed of wet sand, blinking grit from his eyes. He sneezes violently, and a glob of salt, sand and snot splats in a puddle in front of him. As he tries to push himself up the bones of his wings, legs and hip crack, but he does not falter. He manages to painfully right himself, his clawed feet and hands sinking deeply into the mud. White fur covered in sand he surveys the scene of his beaching. The pallid beach before him stretches for miles around a dense tropical jungle. The beach is ridden with the corpses of fish and other marine life, including a medium sized, green skinned mosasaur. Othy even spots another pterosaur have buried in the sand, its shredded white wing thrust awkwardly into the air. Flying around the wrecked beach are dozens of pale winged seabirds. With orange bills, black caps and toothy jaws, the ravenous avians shove their beaks into the corpses and pull out the flesh within. The birds squabble, croaking and squawking at each other to get the best of the food.
Othy has encountered these much smaller flyers many times before. Called Ichthyornis dispar, they are ravenous scavengers and beach combers, and will try to make a lunch out of anything, even if the anything is a rock. Now rearing to his full height, Othy has become quite obvious on this death ridden beach, and the little birds become more curious. A few of them waddle up to him and begin squawking and ruffling their feathers in a sad attempt to scare him off. With a loud screech Othy snaps at one and the rest take off. He nabs a beak full of black-rimmed tail feathers before the insignificant bird manages to escape.

Year 4
Nursery Island

Othy glides over the clear sea, the wind gently pushing him toward his destination. A small scrubby island appears over the horizon, the surrounding azure reef dazzling Othy’s black eyes.
A year after his experience in the storm swept beach and Othy has returned to his island birthplace. Driven by instinct he has come back, and the reason for this is expressed in his full size spike of bright blue bone extending back off his head. His crest has fully developed and this also means he has reached sexual maturity. He has returned to his nursery to mate, and hundreds of other has already reached the chunk of reef bordered land.
Suddenly, movement in the lagoon catches his eye. A group of other pteranos have begun feeding on a giant school of fish that have been forced to the surface by a pack of torpedoing sharks. Othy lands in the midst of the commotion and immediately dunks his head beneath the waves and scoops out a pile of wriggling fish. With a toss of his golden bill the fish fall down his gullet. But suddenly, he notices the sharks have disappeared. He makes the conscious decision to leave, and he makes a hasty take off, leaving the other pteranos to deal with what comes next. A massive splash and the screeching calls of panicking pterosaurs reach Othy’s ears. He turns back to see the long powerful head of a tylo grasping a pterano with several other flyers making a hurried retreat.
A predator like Othy, knowledge is as good as instinct, and if wasn’t for his first encounter with a sea reptile, he might have not survived.
The young male pterosaur glides toward the island covered with pteranos. The flying reptiles huddle into the island’s center, constantly calling to one another. Males with spectacular blue head-crests display to each other in competition for the smaller, less ornate females.
Othy sets his sights on the center of the crowd, but the chopping bills of the other males fend him off every time he tries to land. He finally manages to land near the edge of the crowd. The rest of the pterosaurs here are young males, like him, in their first year of breeding. Some of these males may very well be the brothers he shared the pile of dirt and shrubbery with for the first few moments of his life. But now, they are no more than competition, and Othy immediately begins his challenges. He turns to his right and catches the eye of another young male. His opponent does a push up, bobbing his head to display his crest. Othy returns the challenge. The adversary then turns his head sideways, the side of his crest flaunted with a shake of his neck. Othy thrusts his bill forward in anger and manages to pull a chunk of pale fur from his enemy’s chest. The opposition returns the favour, but Othy manages to dodge the stab and he knocks the opponent with the side of his bill. Without any further action Othy’s adversary backs down and retreats into the crowd. Othy rears his head back in triumph and squawks threateningly to the other males. Two more of the opposition back away, not even willing to start a fight. But suddenly, a colossal old male pushes his way toward Othy. The giant’s body is riddled with scars, and his left eye is perpetually closed. He is well past his prime, unable to compete with the males at the center of the arena, but the younger first and second year contenders are easy competition. His opponent stands a full head taller than Othy, but the younger male doesn’t make down. He issues to push up challenge, and his challenger does the same. But before Othy can snap his golden beak forward in attack, the old male charges him, moving incredibly fast for such an elderly and awkward animal. His foe jabs his bill forward and rears onto his hind legs, smacking Othy with his powerful wings. Othy falls back into the shrubbery, and the giant makes another charge, this time knocking Othy into the dirt. The older male calls in triumph and turns his back to a watching female.
Othy has lost his first fight, but it won’t be his last. Several more times he fights with the other males, and he mates with a female after every win. Othy will live for another thirty years, but the fate of his species is already sealed. As the Campanian period gives way to the Maastrichtian, Pteranodon will go extinct. The reasons for this are unknown, but for the final fifteen million years, the skies will belong to the long necked giants that Othy encountered. They are the Azdarchids, and are the largest creatures ever to take to the skies.

My opinion

As I said before, it is a good story, and certainly one of the ones that portrays the animal in the most accurate light. I enjoy how Pteranodon is not a 70's style wyvern frigate bird monster that snatches prey from the water surface, but a large, oversized albatross analogue that hunts in the water surface as its anatomy suggests (I, however, will eventually debate on the lifestyle of this animal. Nonetheless, I still have a few issues:

-The way how the animal takes off: pterosaurs are known now to have used a catapult like motion of the forelimbs to launch into the air. It is minor enough to be ignored however, and we still don't know exactly how did they took off in the water (my guess would be a motion similar to a mixture of the catapult motion and the motion of a paddle, but thats what I think; in any case Pteranodon would likely be dependent on the waves and winds to take off)

-Its unlikely mosasaurs and plesiosaurs were warm blooded, but again its forgivable since its minor

-I didn't like how the Pteranodon didn't ate the Ichthyornis, as I hate that bird anyway.

-While Pteranodon itself would probably had been clumsy on land, the azhdarchids were certainly quite gracile.