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The Cretaceous Era Airplane

The Cretaceous Era Airplane
Above: A reconstruction of the Quetzalcoatlus skeleton. This animal stood about as tall as a giraffe!

Perhaps you've heard of the massive pterosaur, Quetzalcoatlus. Named after the Aztec god of the winds, this enormous animal stood over 18 feet tall with a wingspan of up to 36 feet. That easily makes it the largest flying creature we know of. What we didn't know, was how it managed to take off.

Since its discovery, the hollow bones and wing structures were clear evidence that Quetzalcoatlus could fly, but the exact details were fuzzy. It's hollow skeleton made it difficult to study, as paleontologists more often found chips of fragile bone rather than complete specimens. However, a new team that included an aerospace engineer have recently come forward with a reconstruction of the animal that suggests how it was able to life its massive body off the ground.

This study explains that the Quetzalcoatlus would crouch its body before taking off in a leap that brought it eight feet off the ground, giving it time to extend its massive wings and continue propelling itself upward. Just the thought of such a creature taking flight is breathtaking.
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