Q is for Quetzalcoatlus

Quetzalcoatlus Flying Reptile

This was a hard letter to work with until my eight-year-old paleontologist came to the rescue. “Pick a dinosaur, Mom,” he said. “The Quetzalcoatlus.”

And who can say no to such a cool idea?

Hence, we have the amazing creature that gave Hollywood enough thrill and action for countless feature films — and just about enough science to make it all plausible.

Remember Jurassic Park 3?  It’s okay if you don’t. Most viewers stopped after Jurassic Park 1, or maybe 2. But with a little dinosaur fan in the house, we watched all three many times over.

In the movie, the scientist’s assistant is grabbed by the flying dinosaur. What a horror!  Gone, only to resurface just before the credits rolled. Guess the Quetzalcoatlus didn’t care for the skinny guy. The huge bird was only trying to teach him a lesson. Stay away, human.

So, what do we know what about the flying dinosaur? I enlisted my son, Keith, for help, and here is what we found:

1.   Quetzalcoatlus was one of the largest flying animals to have ever inhabited the Earth.  Its wingspan was over 40 feet in width.  Its neck alone was 10 feet long.

2.   The flying reptile is believed to have been a scavenger, picking at the carcasses of dead dinosaurs. It lived 68,000,000 years ago, during the late Cretaceous period in Mexico and North America (Texas).

3.   The Quetzalcoatlus was named after the ancient Mexican God, quetzalcoatl.

4.   It’s wing span was 35 feet in length. Even today nothing can compare. The albatross has a wingspan of 11 feet.

5.   Even though they were as large as a small plane, they were very light. Probably not more than 200lbs.

6.   Scientists have never found a complete skeleton, but they found so many halves they were able to put them together. 

File:Quetzalcoatlus 1.JPG

7.   The fossils were all found in Texas. The first ever discovered was in 1971, then in 1996. Close relatives were found in Alberta, Canada.

And with such interesting facts, (the god name, the ability to fly), Hollywood will likely continue to give the dinosaur a role in many more movies.  And in this house we will be watching.

 ~~~~~~~  Thank you for stopping by. If you leave a comment, please be sure to leave your link. I’d hate to miss out on your post.

Hope to see you tomorrow when R is for Romance Languages.


Photos credits: Quetzalcoatlus image, from kids-dinosaurs.com; Jurassic Park scene, from rottentomatoes; fossil of Quetzalcoatlus, an extinct pterosaur, by Ghedoghedo — from Wikimedia Commons. 

32 responses to “Q is for Quetzalcoatlus

  1. What a helpful and clever 8 year old you have, my 12 year old bonus child offered O for oregano when I was struggling with a word for that day… because he thinks it’s great on pizza! Looks like you chose an interesting theme for the challenge –

  2. Another dinosaur lover in our house, so I know exactly what you mean about Jurassic Park 3. We’ve enjoyed watching all of them. Many times.

    Rinelle Grey

  3. Hi Sylvia, great post! Tell your 8 year old he taught an old archaelogist something today. Many people get paleontologists and archaeologists confused, but we only have the layman’s passing interest in the great creatures. I always assumed the pterodactyl was the only flying dinosaur. I can tell him something he might find interesting about Quetzalcoatl. In the Nauhuatal language quetzalcoatl means feathered serpent and he is the god of intelligence and self-reflection. An interesting tidbit there for a budding paleontologist!

  4. I love how you choose your topic for Q! The only thing I knew was how he got the name – what is it about kids and their fascination with dinosaurs tho? I never met a kid that didn’t like them!

  5. As a former dinasaurophile, this was pure heaven to read. Great idea from your 8 year old!

  6. How fortunate you are to have such a smart 8 year old to help out with the challenge! It boggles my mind that those things were flying over what is now Texas at one point in history.

  7. Can you imagine something so huge flying around,yikes. I knew nothing about this dinosaur, so thank you,this was fun :)

  8. We have watched all three a multitude of times as well. Great facts! Hope they don’t nest in Edmund. ;)

  9. Clever girl you got there, well done, me and my son loved this, thanks
    maggie at expat brazil

  10. Wow Sylvia,In comparison the great room in my home is 30 ft long. That is one huge flying dino!

  11. Great Q word. I doubt many others have done a post on this today. :)

  12. Oddly enough I watched Jurassic Park 3 a couple of days ago because it was on Sky Anytime – definitely prefer the first two and the first one I saw front row of the cinema – so that will always raise my heartbeat.
    Great to get your family involved in the challenge – thanks for visiting my blog too.

  13. no I didn’t see the film but cool post. Did you give your son an extra treat for the suggestion?

  14. I’ve only watched the first Jurassic Park! 40 by 35 feet wingspan – wow.

    Sonia Lal

  15. Well this dino’s name is certainly a mouthful. This is the first time I’ve heard of it. I thought the only flying dinosaur was the pterodactyl so thank you and your son for this new info I learned today! :)

    I love your blog’s tag line, btw.

    ~ D is for Deecoded ~

  16. I’ve not heard if that dinosaur…not sure how you say it either. Very interesting, I learnt something new today!

  17. So cool that this dinosaur was named after Quetzalcoatl. I didn’t know that! Wouldn’t it be amazing to see such a beast flying? Terrifying but amazing. I’m afraid of geese, could you imagine my horror at seeing this? Jennifer a.k.a Urban Gypsy Girl

  18. Hi Silvia .. great to have a son who can come up with a “Q” word .. interesting one too … I’m quite glad the dinosaurs have gone, but I love when they recreate them so we can understand, perhaps, a little more what life was like back then … cheers Hilary

  19. Kudos to your son for the great assist.

  20. I stumbled upon your post as I was helping my son research the quetzalcoatlus for show and tell. What a clever son you have, to suggest it as a Q word! One correction though – as it turns out, it’s not a dinosaur. That was confusing for us too, but apparently it’s classified as a flying reptile (aka “pterosaur”). Interesting, huh?

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