Fossil range: Middle Cretaceous
Anhanguera-santanae skull
The skull of Anhanguera santanae of the Santana formation, Brazil.
Scientific classification








  • A. blittersdorffi
    Campos & Kellner, 1985 (type)
  • A. santanae
    (Wellnhofer, 1985)
  • A. cuvieri
    (Bowerbank vide Seeley, 1865) Unwin et al., 2000
  • A. fittoni
    (Owen, 1859) Unwin et al., 2000

Anhanguera (meaning "old devil") is a genus of pterodactyloid pterosaur known from the Lower-Cretaceous (Aptian) Santana Formation of Brazil. The discovery of this pterosaur helped to end some of the debates about whether pterosaurs walked on two legs or four. This pterosaur is closely related to Ornithocheirus, and belongs in the family Ornithocheiridae within its own subfamily, Anhanguerinae, which also includes Ludodactylus.

Anhanguera was a fish-eating creature with a wingspan of 4-5 m (13-17 ft). It had a small, round crest on the front of its upper jaw. The creature is named after the Brazilian town of Anhanguera.

There are several recognized species of Anhanguera. A. santanae and A. blittersdorfi are known from several fragmentary remains including skulls from the Santana Formation of Brazil. A. cuvieri and A. fittoni, initially described as belonging to the genus Pterodactylus and then Ornithocheirus, are from a slightly later period (Albian) from England, while fragments of pterosaurs that may have affinities with Anhanguera have also been found in Queensland, Australia. The well-known species A. piscator has been redescribed as belonging to the genus Coloborhynchus (Veldmeijer, 2003).


A study in 2003[1] showed that Anhanguera held its head at an angle with the ground due to its inner ear structure, which helped the animal detect its balance, much like humans.

Classification and speciesEdit


  • Campos, D. A., and Kellner, A. W. A. (1985). "Panorama of the Flying Reptiles Study in Brazil and South America (Pterosauria/ Pterodactyloidea/ Anhangueridae)." Anais da Academia Brasileira de Ciências, 57(4):141–142 & 453-466
  • Campos, D. de A., and Kellner, A. W. (1985). "Un novo exemplar de Anhanguera blittersdorffi (Reptilia, Pterosauria) da formaçao Santana, Cretaceo Inferior do Nordeste do Brasil." In Congresso Brasileiro de Paleontologia, Rio de Janeiro, Resumos, p. 13.

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