Quetzalcoatlus is a monotypic genus of pterosaurs belonging to the group Pterodactyloidea that lived in the area of present-day North America during the Late Cretaceous Period. The only named species is Quetzalcoatlus northropi.
With a wingspan of ten meters, this species is the largest flying animal in world history. The first and largest specimen to date was found in Texas in 1971. Later finds were much smaller and may belong to a separate species. Given the animal's size, how well it could fly has long been a point of contention. It is now believed that Quetzalcoatlus was heavily muscled and could take off quickly by pushing its wings against the ground in a single movement. The muscles were also strong enough to fly around with the flying skin flapping up and down for a short time. Longer flights could be floated. There is no agreement about the animal's way of life. Perhaps it caught fish from the sea with its long and pointed toothless mouth, but the site was far from any large body of water. This is why it has also been thought that it could have been a scavenger or foraged on the ground and in shallow water. It could move well on all fours. Quetzalcoatlus was one of the last pterosaurs and is believed to have been wiped out 66 million years ago by the same meteorite impact that wiped out the last great dinosaurs, which were its contemporaries.
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