Animal Type: Dietary Type: Size: Weight: Major Fossil Finds:
Quetzalcoatlus KWET-zal-koh-AT-lus After Aztec god Quezalcoatl
Pterosaur Carnivore 12 metre wingspan up to 100 kg
Evidence Quetzalcoatlus was a huge pterosaur with a wingspan of up to 15 metres - the largest flying creature of all time. It is the last known pterosaur which survived to the very end of the Cretaceous period. Quetzalcoatlus was named after the Aztec's feathered-serpent god, Quetzalcoatl, by Douglas Lawson who first found the remains at Big Bend National Park in Texas.
Despite its huge size, the skeleton was lightly built and the whole animal probably weighed no more than 100 kilograms. Its neck was extremely long, its slender jaws were toothless and its head was topped by a long, bony crest. Unlike most other pterosaur fossils the Quetzalcoatlus remains have not been found in marine strata but in the sand and silt of a large river's flood plain and this has raised questions about how it lived.
It was a good soarer - certainly able to cover large distances. This, coupled with its long neck has prompted the idea that it lived rather like a vulture and fed on the corpses of dead dinosaurs. But some palaeontologists, noting the long slender jaws suggest that it probed soft ground and pools for molluscs and crustaceans. Others think that it flew low over the warm shallow seas plucking fish from the surface.