The differences between a pterodactyl and a pteranodon include their size, the places where they were found and the periods when they thrived. The pterodactyl was native to Africa and Europe, while the pteranodon flourished in Europe and North America.
The pterodactyl lived during the late Jurassic period, which was about 150 million years ago. It had a wingspan of up to 2 1/2 feet. It had a short tail, a long neck and very long bones in the hands that supported its wings. There were many species of pterodactyl. These could be identified by the shape and size of the head.
The pteranodon was a much larger animal, with a wingspan of over 20 feet. It weighed about 37 pounds. The pteranodon flourished during the Late Cretaceous period, which could have been between 70 to 100 million years ago. Unlike the pterodactyl, it was both tailless and toothless. Paleobiologists believe that the pteranodon was an excellent glider that used thermals to keep it aloft. It was also different from the pterodactyl in that it had a long crest at the back of its head. The purpose of the crest is unknown, but it may have helped steady it in flight.