The God of the Skies, Quetzalcoatlus
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The God of the Skies, Quetzalcoatlus

Quetzalcoatlus was one of the most amazing creatures to ever grace this planet. Quetzalcoatlus is a type of pterodactyl that was native to North and Central America, and lived 68-65 million years ago. Quetzalcoatlus is one of the largest flying animals to ever lived, even dwarfing today’s condors. The name Quetzalcoatlus comes from the ancient Aztec god Quetzalcoatl, which was represented as a giant feathered serpent by his worshipers.

The first Quetzalcoatlus fossil was found in 1971, in Texas, USA. Douglas A. Lawson, a geology graduate student from the University of Texas, found the first fossil. Within a span of 5 years, Douglas found five more Quetzalcoatlus fossils of different sizes and wingspans; three of the fossils were smaller than the original and the other two were larger. Even today, palaeontologists are not sure, if the six skeletons found by Douglas A. Lawson are from different sub-species of Quetzalcoatlus or if the skeletons came from juvenile and adult Quetzalcoatlus.

Without a doubt, Quetzalcoatlus was the largest flying animal that existed when dinosaurs walked on the earth. While scientists debate the wingspan of these great beasts, they know for sure that adult Quetzalcoatlus had a wingspan that ranged from 33-55 feet. Estimating the weight of a Quetzalcoatlus is very difficult for scientists as their bones were hollow, very much like a bird’s bones today. However, scientists believe that they ranged in weight from 150 pounds to 600 pounds. The beak of the Quetzalcoatlus was long, sharp, and powerful. It was once theorized that the Quetzalcoatlus used it’s beak to catch fish while flying over the ocean. However, recent studies are shown that the Quetzalcoatlus would actually land on the ground to hunt, acting very similar to today’s stork or heron.

Quetzalcoatlus filled both the predator of small prey and scavenger niche in the ecosystem of the Cretaceous period. They would hunt small reptiles, rodents, larger insects, and even small dinosaurs when they were walking on the ground. In the air, it was possible for them to find unguarded kills and steal some of the meat that was left on the carcass. However, despite being extremely large, when on land a full-grown Quetzalcoatlus could easily become prey to large carnivores such as the Tyrannosaurs Rex or Giganotosaurus. When small, the Quetzalcoatlus could become prey to other smaller predatory pterodactyls or small predatory dinosaurs. However, once full-grown and flying in the air, the Quetzalcoatlus was nearly impossible to harm.

The Quetzalcoatlus was one of the most amazing flying creatures to ever exist. When full grown the Quetzalcoatlus could easily dwarf a small plane and there is not a bird on Earth today that even comes close to its huge size. However, like all the great wonders and titans that were born during the reign of the dinosaurs, they all died out, one by one, to one of the most powerful things on Earth, time.

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