Join 3,562 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)

Sort of like a cross between a giraffe and a stork
August 22, 2013 12:18 PM   Subscribe

9 things you may not know about giant azhdarchid pterosaurs, via Quetzalcoatlus: the evil, pin-headed, toothy nightmare monster that wants to eat your soul
posted by Artw (14 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite

'Azhdarchidae' is a terrific name.

Yes. Yes it is. Up there with "nazgûl" and "Darth Vader" in my book.
posted by Now there are two. There are two _______. at 12:24 PM on August 22, 2013 [1 favorite]

Looks like something that might be ridden by a scantily clad warrior in Heavy Metal magazine in the 80s. Awesome beast.
posted by Celsius1414 at 12:29 PM on August 22, 2013

I think of these monstrous beasts every time I eat chicken, which is why any consumption of mcnuggets features a mighty hominid roar of triumph.
posted by elizardbits at 12:30 PM on August 22, 2013 [7 favorites]

If you want to know what interaction between one of these guys and human would be, check out this video of a great blue heron eating a gopher.
posted by 445supermag at 12:37 PM on August 22, 2013 [5 favorites]

There is a Quetzalcoatlus model at our local zoo right now. I think it is approximately a half-size recreation of the original beast. Even half size, it is huge. Plus, it moves and has a speaker inside it to allow it to make appropriately creepy bird-monster noises.

My four-year-old son LOVES dinosaurs, and he will not go anywhere near the thing.
posted by caution live frogs at 12:50 PM on August 22, 2013 [1 favorite]

If you want to know what interaction between one of these guys and human would be, check out this video of a great blue heron eating a gopher yt .

No no no it'd be like this...
posted by ian1977 at 1:04 PM on August 22, 2013 [1 favorite]

Yay, pterosaurs! Be sure to check out as well.
posted by brundlefly at 1:08 PM on August 22, 2013 [2 favorites]

The Houston Museum of Natural Science opened a new paleontology hall about a year ago that has a few Quetzalcoatlus skeletons. Their size is unbelievable. Like you expect T-rexs and Mega sharks and what not, but before seeing the Quetzalcoatlus I never imagined the pterodactyls came much bigger than the biggest birds of our era. It's astounding that these things could even fly.
posted by DynamiteToast at 1:23 PM on August 22, 2013

I've always been a bit skeptical about Quetzalcoatlus. The species was originally named and reconstructed from half a humerus and nothing else, and from that they imagined the huge monster we all are familiar with.

Did they ever find a (nearly) complete skeleton? Are all the ones cited above actually "what we think it probably was like, based on that one humerus?"
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 1:30 PM on August 22, 2013

Apparently more remains have been found but there's some haziness about the classification.
posted by brundlefly at 1:48 PM on August 22, 2013 [2 favorites]

"Palaeoart memes are those traditions we so frequently see in the history of palaeontological art whereby artists copy the behavioural hypotheses, body shapes, postures and even colour schemes of given animals again and again and again, not because they’re well supported or based on evidence of any sort, but simply because that’s what’s been depicted beforehand. "

I work in the scientific illustration/publishing community and sadly this happens all the time. And not just for paleoart, but in EVERY kind of scientific subject matter. See that nice picture of a cell/protein/insect/organ etc in your textbook? If there weren't enough sources or references, and the budget was crap, and the publisher wanted it done yesterday, then it's likely that some shit was just made up or, at best, copied from some existing illustration whose authority is based simply on the fact that it exists. In this way, "best guesses" and errors are perpetuated through many books.
posted by Kabanos at 2:31 PM on August 22, 2013 [1 favorite]

Why pterosaurs weren't so scary after all
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 3:51 PM on August 22, 2013

Pterosaurs, a set from Mark Witton's Flickr photostream.
posted by Kronos_to_Earth at 9:38 PM on August 22, 2013 [1 favorite]

So, Reading _Jurassic Park_ in 2013 is Weird as Hell.
posted by Artw at 3:23 PM on August 26, 2013 [1 favorite]

« Older Molly Lambert and Emily Yoshida go see Taylor Swif...  |  The Deschutes River fly-fishin... Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments