Jan. 20, 2011 -- The discovery of a fossilized pterodactyl mother alongside its egg offers new clues about these flying reptiles, which lived during the Dinosaur Era between 220 million and 65 million years ago.
Dating back to around 160 million years ago, the fossils were discovered in China and provide the first direct evidence of gender in these extinct reptiles.
The illustration above shows the distinction between the sexes among pterodactyls.
The pterodactyl with the brilliantly colored crest was the male. Scientists have longed wondered why these animals and other pterosaurs had crests. Now, they have an answer: The crests were likely used in displays by males to attract a mate.
Females also had wider hips than their male counterparts, likely to facilitate egg-laying.