Quetzalcoatlus was a pterosaur, a type of flying reptile. It was not a dinosaur, though it lived during the same period. Quetzalcoatlus lived during the Late Cretaceous and resided in North America. The first Quetzalcoatlus fossil was discovered in 1975.

Named for the Aztec deity Quetzacouatl, a mythical feathered serpent, Quetzalcoatlus has much in common with its namesake. Its appearance is quite distinct, with an oversized head and beak, colorful rounded crest, a long thin neck, and strangely proportioned legs and wings. It may be the largest flying creature ever to have lived, with a wingspan reaching nearly 40 feet!

Like the other Pterosaurs, Quetzalcoatlus is not technically a dinosaur, but did exist alongside dinosaurs during the late Cretaceous period.

Quetzalcoatlus is often depicted in art with feathers, perhaps owing to its mythological namesake. However, researchers believe it was instead covered with pycnofibres, which are hair-like fibers that differ from animal hair.

Quick facts about Quetzalcoatlus:

  • Existed from 72.1 million years ago to 66 million years ago
  • Lived in a terrestrial habitat
  • Was a carnivore
  • Could fly
  • Had a body mass of approximately 25906 g
  • 6 different specimens have been found by paleontologists

All the Quetzalcoatlus illustrations below were collected from the internet. Enjoy and explore: