The only way they were able to make Quetzalcoatlus fly at all, he said, was by employing a hang glider approach to takeoffs. It has a long stiffened neck and it was named after the Mesoamerican feathered serpent god, Quetzalcoatl. Fossils are rare for these winged giants, but the bones we have just don’t point in that direction. They speculate that Quetzalcoatlus may have remained on the ground and used its wings for support. What we think we know about them is based on fragmentary evidence — a wing bone here, a vertebra there, a partial skull over there — extrapolated upon using the example of smaller members of the same family, which are well known. Their wings would be either light membrane, or covered with light scales like butterflies, or feathers, like birds. His conclusion: Quetzalcoatlus weighed 1,200 pounds and could not have packed on enough muscle to support its weight in flight. Recent studies have estimated Quetzalcoatlus to weigh around 200 to 250 kg. Their tiny torsos, hollow bones, and interior air sacs allowed them to weigh so little even as they stood over 16 feet tall, he says. TVOKids doesn't have control over the new place you're about to visit, so please make sure you get your Parent or Guardian's permission first! In the late Cretaceous period, just before the demise of the dinosaurs, there lived reptiles as tall as a giraffe with wings as wide as a small airplane. It is capable of killing small dinosaurs, like Austroraptor and Orodromeus, with ease. “The safest argument that needs the least amount of assumptions and special pleading is that it couldn’t fly, based on what we see on birds today,” Henderson recently told Inverse. The facts seem to side with the “flying” side of the argument, but its not conclusive. Third, computer models that show that Quetzalcoatlus couldn’t fly are based on size estimates that have a body that’s too big, and more to the point, outdated, based on what we now know of Quetzalcoatlus’s body. There is currently no evidence that giants such as Quetzalcoatlus needed any special wind, cliffs, or ledges to launch, nor special conditions to sustain flight. They must have looked terrifying as they swooped and soared overhead at speeds approaching 60 miles per hour. Sorry, no thick, invincible scales - they would be too heavy. It’s wings would have smashed into the ground on the downstroke. The two team up to complete Dino Experiment 8-1-6: could the Quetzalcoatlus fly? Recent studies have estimated Quetzalcoatlus to weigh around 200 to 250 kg. Although Quetzalcoatlus was a pterosaur, that does not mean it was able to fly. He’s a math and physics guy, and he proved the modeling techniques on living birds. You are now leaving TVOKids.com. They also could have dived from an elevated cliff inorder to build up speed and achieve flight. “All the ducks line up in a row, and it’s actually far more complicated for us to think of a reason why they’re not flying,” he says. If there’s a bridge between the positions of Henderson and Witton, it is embodied in Michael Habib, a professor at the University of Southern California and an expert in the biomechanics of pterosaur flight. Quetzalcoatlus was a pterosaur who lived approximately 70 million years ago during the Cretacious Period. Close Dialog. Quetzalcoatlus facts and theories Some scientists have suggested that Quetzalcoatlus was so large that it was too heavy to fly. But what if they’re both right? What if these giants really were weighty behemoths who could take to the skies in spite of their size? But recent research suggests that Quetzalcoatlus could fly -- and do so under its own power. These flying reptiles that lived above the dinosaurs’ heads during the Mesozoic era were the largest animals ever to fly. A radio-controlled model of Quetzalcoatlus northropi, digitally superimposed over a picture of the sun. Many modern birds like the penguin and the ostrich are exclusively terrestrial. 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