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Lauren Helton ([personal profile] dino_a_day) wrote2014-07-09 06:50 pm
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Quetzalcoatlus - Towering - 47



This enormous pterosaur is Quetzalcoatlus northropi, one of the largest flying animals to have ever existed, with an estimated 33-36 foot wingspan and an estimated weight of 440-550 pounds, and an approximate height while standing of around 16 feet. While Quetzalcoatlus could undoubtedly fly, it likely would have required good thermals to soar on much like today's largest birds - maintaining flight through its own power would have been extremely energetically costly.

Quetzalcoatlus though, like the rest of the azhdarchid pterosaurs, likely spent much of its time on the ground, where it would have stalked ground-dwelling prey like an enormous stork. With legs built like today's ungulates, it could probably have run quite well, and its long beak would enable it to pluck animals up without having to bend down too low. Essentially, imagine a predatory giraffe that could fly - that's Quetzalcoatlus, undoubtedly a terrifying predator to the smaller dinosaurs of Late Cretaceous North America.

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