Quetzalcoatlus – giant winged predator

Back to latest

Did you know?

Quetzalcoatlus have a staggering maximum flying speed of around 170 km/h and can cover thousands of kilometres during a non-stop flight!

Vital statistics

Wingspan:                                     10m, up to 12m

Height:                                            5m at top of head (taller than a London double-decker bus)

Weight:                                           250kg

Discovery:                                     found 1971, named 1975

Distinguishing features:        giant wingspan, long neck, stork-like jaws and head crest

 Chronotex Field Observations

It was many months after the establishment of the TimeBase that scientists first saw

Quetzalcoatlus. Everyone knew they existed from the fossil record, but observing them for the first time in the flesh was a highlight for the whole team. There’s nothing like them on Earth today. These extraordinary creatures have acute, high-definition colour vision, as well as rotatable eyeballs, the combination of which enables them to discriminate detail at distance. Like other azhdarchids, they’re also terrestrial stalkers that feel objects with their jaw tips to help them locate and strike at prey.

These are generalist predators (as the shape of the skull suggests) that capture and consume a wide variety of animals – lizards, mammals, juvenile dinosaurs of all kinds, small birds and large invertebrates are all on the menu, as is carrion. We’ve also recorded

instances of Quetzalcoatlus consuming edible plant parts.

 Key facts

  • Equipped with the biggest wingspan of all time – 10 metres
  • Despite the size of the wings, they’re actually proportionally short compared to those of other pterosaurs
  • Able to tightly fold wing membranes and walk and even run quadrupedally with limbs fully beneath body in efficient fashion
  • Remarkably long, stork-like jaws and very long neck with flexible joints
  • Quetzalcoatlus is an excellent soaring flier, but also a proficient, well-adapted terrestrial predator that forages for food on foot

Back to latest