Germanodactylus was yet another Solnhofen pterosaur previously assigned to the then-wastebasket genus Pterodactylus, this time as P. cristatus in allusion to the bony ridge running down its skull. It was included in Pterodactylus by Carl Wiman in 1925, while Yang Zhongjian (aka C.C. Young) reclassified it over four decades later.
Now there are two species in the genus, the type G. cristatus and probably G. rhamphastinus. Even the second species was once considered to be a member of another genus, this time the defunct Ornithocephalus.
The name has been around since the early days of paleontology and was used to include many separate genera of pterosaurs. This was actually named earlier than the type species but was only added to Germanodactylus by Wellnhofer in 1970. The name literally means, “German Finger” and is a testament to where it was discovered.
Today, the genus is considered as a fish-eater living on the dry scrubby islands of the Solnhofen Basin. The wingspan of the type species is slightly under a meter across. We also know that the bony ridge supported a soft tissue crest.