Let's take a different route and not take the Serina route using a modern species. Today, we're looking at pterosaurs. But considering that pterosaurs had ruled the skies from the Late Triassic to the Late Cretaceous, how are we going to narrow the list down to just a handful of species? Well, let's take a look at the speculative pterosaurs of popular culture:

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Concept art of some of the pterosaurs used in the long-dormant Speculative Dinosaur Project

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The infamous lanks of Dougal Dixon's The New Dinosaurs: An Alternative Evolution

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The lank again, but this time alongside Darren Naish's more believable drawings of terrestrial flightless pterosaurs

So that settles that. The one pterosaur to seed would have to be an azhdarchid, as this family was already suited for terrestrial hunting. But which species? For me, there can only be one viable candidate--Montanazhdarcho minor, the smallest of the azhdarchids, with a suggested wingspan of eight feet. So with this pterosaur as the only tetrapod in this terraformed world, one question would stand--would this one species really diversify into the many, many, many, many forms taken back home by all of the dinosaurs, both avian and non-avian?

  • $\begingroup$ I'm having trouble understanding the question. It seems to be relying on information gained from a previous question. Can you add a link or edit the information in? $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 29, 2020 at 14:38
  • $\begingroup$ What do you mean? $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 29, 2020 at 21:02
  • $\begingroup$ Your content in this question seems to be talking about and referring to stuff outside of what is made available in this question. Take your intro paragraph, it starts in the middle of a topic. I was immediately lost. Your last paragraph finally reveals a bit more context about a terraformed world and asking in relation to what occurred on earth but I'm still confused as to what is being asked in the actual question. $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 30, 2020 at 0:44
  • $\begingroup$ The initial confusion and lack of context has made it take several attempts for me to think i have the beginnig of an idea of what you are asking. You have a terraformed world, and you bring a single species to it. You want to know if the species you selected could evolve and diverge to create the diversity of land and bird creatures that we see on earth today? $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 30, 2020 at 0:51
  • $\begingroup$ This is an old question but I would like to inquire why you believe that the pterosaur wouldn't diversify? If it is the only tetrapod in the ecosystem, it will fill every niche available if possible. It wouldn't take a convergent form to other dinosaurs unless pressured to a similar niche of course, I can't imagine a tyrannosaurus-like pterosaur evolving when their prey is random insects and small pterosaurs. $\endgroup$ Commented Jul 11, 2022 at 14:55

1 Answer 1


I'm definitely not a biologist or paleontologist or anything of the sort with qualifications for this subject, but I think the answer is yes or at least sort of.

If you want to go back to science class, every species came from the first living cell a long time ago. If you give your species enough time, then with a little hand-waving sure it will probably become several different types, the longer you give it the more species you could get. The ones that start eating ground bugs like centipedes would eventually lose wings, maybe in favor of another pair of legs. Ones that enter areas with rich greenery would lose sharp teeth, they would eventually conform to their environment to have the best chance of survival. Because the pterosaurs are able to eat meat, plants, and insects, they could evolve in a myriad of ways if given enough time.

If you just want different functions but can't wait a few billion years for new species, then look at some of our jack-of-all-trades animals from today and have your species do that. For example, rats fill tons of niches in many different ecosystems from farmland to cities to jungles, eating anything from old hotdogs to insects to corn. Maybe make them an invasive species and they can take over certain niches that the local biology was unprepared to cope with. Since these pterosaurs are able to eat pretty much anything, they could adapt to lots of niches, even switching from predators to scavengers.


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