According to the standard models that include the assumption of unlimited common ancestry, the short tailed-pterosaurs lived on earth more recently than the long-tailed variety, at least in general. Until recently, paleontologists had thought that pterosaurs could not perch, like many of our modern birds can sit on small tree branches, for the foot or toes of pterosaurs lacked the needed opposing-digit for it. But the pterosaur expert David Peters has shown us that the Rhamphorhynchoidea type (long-tails) did indeed have opposing digits, but the curved fifth toe is used differently than the toe grasping of modern birds.
From the writings of David Peters:
Pterosaurs [some types] could perch on horizontal branches — although not quite like birds. As in birds, the anterior toes were located below the center of balance in flight, the shoulder glenoid, so a bipedal configuration was possible without shifting or lifting the torso.
Wellnhofer illustrates the curved fifth toe of a long-tailed pterosaur, but without explaining the function of that curve, at least not on page 56 of his book. David Peters, another expert, does explain how this toe can help pterosaurs [of some species] perch on a tree branch.
I saw this huge dragon pteradactal [sic] looking thing. I scared it because when he saw me he jumped off the telephone wires and when he opened his huge wings they sounded like heavy fabric . . . I watched him fly across to a large tree and go inside . . .
“Pterodactyl” book Live Pterosaurs in America, third edition
From the Introduction of this nonfiction book
This book might make a few Americans uneasy to walk alone at night; my intention, however, is not to frighten but to enlighten as many readers as possible to know about live-pterosaur investigations. Those who’ve been shocked at the sight of a flying creature that “should” be extinct—those eyewitnesses . . . need no longer be afraid that everyone will think them crazy, and no longer need they feel alone. Those of us who’ve listened to the American eyewitnesses . . . we now believe. So, if you will, consider the experiences of these ordinary persons (I’ve interviewed most of them myself) and accept whatever enlightenment you may.
From Chapter Two: California Sightings
I realize that somebody may suggest the eyewitness saw only a model pterosaur; mechanical “pterodactyls” are common. Several details rule out this explanation. The size of the creature was estimated by its appearance when it flew over the road at low altitude; I doubt that he saw a 30-foot-long model. In addition, it was flying from a fenced-off marshy area off-limits to the general public; I doubt that any model-pterodactyl enthusiast would choose that marsh for launching a giant model.