Rhamphoryhnchus was a pterosaur, or flying reptile, that lived in the Late Jurassic (about 150 million years ago) in what is now Europe. Although it is superficially similar in some ways to bats and birds, it is not related to either group. It is easily recognizable by its beak-like snout and long tail. The best Rhamphorhynchus fossils come from a limestone quarry in Solnhofen, Bavaria. All of the fossils from this locality are incredibly well preserved, leaving little doubt about what the animals looked like in life.
The first Rhamphorhychus fossil was found in 1825. It was firstthought that it was an ancient bird, but under closer examination,it became clear that it had teeth, certainly not what they expecteda bird to have. Pterodactylus, the first pterosaur, had just been described.A quick comparison told the scientists that the new 'bird' fossilwas really a pterosaur, but unlike Pterodactylus, which had a short tail, this new pterosaurhad a very long tail. Because of this difference, it became knownas Rhamphorynchus ('beak-tail) longicaudus ('long tail').