Cards &


A prehistoric marabou stork

If you were standing next to a Triceratops and looking up at the sky 68 million years ago, you could have made eye contact with a creature soaring through the air with a wingspan of 10 meters and a rigid beak measuring one and a half meters long. You would be looking directly into the gaping mouth of Quetzalcoatlus, one of the last pterosaurs and the largest flying animal ever. After hovering and scanning the ground below, Quetzalcoatlus finally spots what it’s been searching for—a dead sauropod. It lands on the ground to begin feasting on the carcass. As it stands there, devouring the remains, it resembles a massive version of a marabou stork. The marabou stork, with its bald head and bare neck, specializes in sticking its head into old carcasses. Its bare crown makes it easy to clean up afterward—perhaps Quetzalcoatlus looked the same way? Pterosaurs like Quetzalcoatlus are often mistaken for dinosaurs, perhaps because they are equally fantastical and coexisted, but they are not dinosaurs. They belong to their own unique group of animals.

Up to 12 meters wingspan and 5 meters in height

Around 250 kilograms

Late Cretaceous period (68-66 million years ago)

Carnivorous, scavenger

Discovery sites
Primarily Texas