The World's Largest Flier
Discovery of the Fossil
Dr. Langston continued to search for and study Big Bend fossils and eventually found other specimens of Quetzalcoatlus in another part of the park. Although these specimens were smaller than the original, they were more complete and had a very impressive wingspan of at least 18 feet. Comparison of these complete specimens with the huge bones of the original Quetzalcoatlus made it possible to calculate the body size of Lawson’s specimen. This enormous pterosaur had an estimated wingspan of 36-39 feet, making it the largest known flying creature of all time. It is not yet clear whether the smaller specimens were young individuals of the large species, or whether they represent a distinct, smaller species of Quetzalcoatlus.
Did You Know?
Burro Mesa, named for the herds of wild burros that once grazed there, is one of the structurally low sunken fault blocks in the Park. The highest lava unit on Burro Mesa is the same lava that caps Emory Peak in the Chisos Mountains inside Big Bend National Park. More...