Tuesday, February 2, 2010



Meaning: Named after Camille Arambourg, who first described it in the 1950s
Time: Late Cretaceous
Size: 39 ft. 4 in. (13m)wingspan
Diet: Probably fish
Information: Scientists continue finding bigger and bigger pterosaur bones and announcing that this must have been the biggest animal that could possibly fly. The current record holder is Arambourgiania.
The biggest pterosaurs are not known from complete specimens, so all the figures you see on this subject are only estimates based on extrapolation from smaller, more complete finds. Currently, the record holders amongst pterosaurs (and, indeed, all volant animals) are the giant azhdarchids, enormous pterosaurs that existed across the world in the Cretaceous. The best known of these is Quetzalcoatlus nothropi from the Javelina Formation of Texas. Known from a stupendously big humerus and other fragmentary elements, the wingspan of this animal is estimated at 10 - 11 m with a shoulder height of 2.5 m when it stood on the ground.

However, other azhdarchids known from even scantier material hint at bigger animals. Arambourgiania philidelphae, a pterosaur known from a solitary neck vertebrae and scrappy wing elements from Jordan, may have achieved a wingspan of 11 - 13 m. However, Hatzagopteryx thambema is the current record holder for the largest pterosaur known: with only a few pieces of skull and a couple of scrappy limb elements, estimates for this critter put it between 12 - 14 m across the wings.


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