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Quetzalcoatlus and the pterodactyls

QuetzalcoatlusQuetzalcoatlus Quetzalcoatlus was a pterosaur from the pterodactyl group that lived in North America during the Late Cretaceous—at the very end of the Age of Dinosaurs. It was named after the Aztecs’ feathered-serpent god, Quetzalcoatl. It had very long, narrow wings made of skin stretching from an exceptionally long fourth finger to its back legs. Its other fingers were clawed. Quetzalcoatlus had a long neck, large eyes, a long, pointed beak and toothless, slender jaws, while its head was topped by a short, bony crest. Its body was covered in short fur.

Two Quetzalcoatlus forage on a plain.Two Quetzalcoatlus forage on a plain.


Quetzalcoatlus was one of the largest animals ever to fly: its wingspan has been estimated at 11–12 metres (36–39 feet). When standing upright, it was about the height of a modern giraffe (5.5 metres / 18 feet). Despite its huge size, its skeleton was of extremely light construction. The animal may have weighed only about 100 kilograms (220 pounds).


Quetzalcoatlus lacked the muscle power to take off by running quickly. Instead it may have got airborne by launching itself from cliff edges or by using a hopping motion on the ground.

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