Posted on Sunday, 11 November, 2012 | 27 comments| News tip by: Still Waters
Image credit: Mark Witton, Darren Naish
Quetzalcoatlus might have had wings but it was so large that it wouldn't have been able to take off.
The enormous reptile would have only been able to take to the skies from a steep hill or other platform from which it could jump and then soar through the air like a hang glider. Its wings were simply too big and its muscles too weak for it take flight by flapping them while on the ground. At 70kg the species would have been at the absolute upper limit of what flesh and bone can support in flight.
"There's no way this animal could take off from the ground," said paleontologist Sankar Chatterjee. "There is no way it could fly."
"A new analysis of the largest of pterodactyls suggests they were too big and their muscles too weak to vault into the air and fly."