Tech UPTechnologyThey discover how Quetzalcoatlus, the world's largest pterosaur, flew

They discover how Quetzalcoatlus, the world's largest pterosaur, flew

Pterosaurs were not dinosaurs, but rather a group of flying reptiles that lived during the Triassic, Jurassic, and Cretaceous periods (228 to 66 million years ago). The Quetzalcoatlus was the largest pterosaur in the world; a warm-blooded creature believed to have hair rather than feathers and no tail, which might have enhanced its maneuverability.


The largest flying animal to ever live on Earth

But if it was 10-11 meters long with its wings spread, how was it able to fly? Scientists have solved this mystery thanks to the analysis of fossils collected at the end of the 20th century. Experts have determined that the Quetzalcoatlus jumped in the air to be able to take off from the ground and thus be able to fly. Of course, it gave a great jump, at least 2.5 meters to be able to take off with its enormous wingspan.

Its method of takeoff was similar to that of today’s herons, but it was more like a modern-day condor and vulture in terms of how it soared through the air.

The studies, six in total, published in monograph form in the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, describe the geological and ecological environment of the pterosaur during the Upper Cretaceous, its anatomy and taxonomic position, and how it moved on the ground and in the air. .

As for its landing, it was almost like takeoff but in reverse. “The animal had to flap its wings to stop and slow its descent and then land on its hind legs and with a little jump,” the authors explain.

“This ancient flying reptile is legendary, although much of the public conception of the animal is artistic, not scientific,” said paleontologist Kevin Padian, co-editor of the monograph. “ This is the first real look at the entirety of the largest animal that has ever flown, as far as we know . The results are revolutionary for the study of pterosaurs, the first animals, after insects, to develop motorized flight. “




Referencia: Memoir 19: The Late Cretaceous pterosaur Quetzalcoatlus Lawson 1975 (Pterodactyloidea: Azhdarchoidea) Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, Volume 41, Issue sup1 (2021)

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