Riding Quetzalcoatlus

Mark Witton's big pterosaurThose doggone pterosaurs were incredible creatures. Look at that big one over there, as tall as a giraffe! And when they got done lumbering around on land, they took to the air. I think it’s safe to say dragons have got nothing on these babies. Click the image for a closer look. Now, if only they could breathe fire.

I suppose it’s safe to say they weren’t fire breathers, but clearly you’d want to give them a wide berth if you were to travel back to the Cretaceous period 65 million years ago. Forget getting scorched. How about getting snipped in half by that five foot long stork bill and then swallowed like sushi in two bites.

I’m impressed with these creatures, and also impressed with one of the finest purveyors of pterosaur paintings on the planet, Mark Witton. Mark is a University of Portsmouth PhD who dedicates himself to entirely too much pterosaur study. He keeps a Flickr page of these beasties for anyone who wants to learn entirely too much about them.

The reason I bring all this up is, I’ve got a story under construction in which one of my characters in the Dinosaur Wars series gets up the nerve to take to the air on the back of one of these beasties. Kit Daniels, a Montana State University student and pretty good horseback rider, decides she needs to fly one of these babies to rescue a friend from a nasty Tyrannosaurus rex attack.

That’s all I’m willing to tell you about the story for now, but be assured you’ll see a whole new side of Quetzalcoatlus, the giraffe-sized flyer, when I complete the tale, which gets very up-close and personal with these amazing beasts of the past.

As I’m sure I’ve mentioned before, writing the Dinosaur Wars novels and the new Dinosaur Tales series of short stories is my way of casting the imagination back to take a new look at dinosaurs and their flying cousins, the pterodactyls. Science has learned a lot about these animals in recent years but some things must be left to speculation, and that’s where I come in. What did they sound like? What were their nests and babies like? What, or might I say whom, did they eat? If you can’t wait until my story is published in the next few months to find out, then you’ll get a little foretaste by checking out these amazing and sometimes bizarre creatures at another cool site, Pterosaur.net, where Mark is a contributor.

About Tom Hopp

Thomas P Hopp is a scientist and author living in Seattle. He writes medical thrillers, natural disaster novels, and the Dinosaur Wars science fiction series.
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7 Responses to Riding Quetzalcoatlus

  1. Vicky Cech says:

    Loved Dinosaur Wars Earthfall. Is there a second in the series or is it Z compilation of the first an second books in the third edition? What is the name of the second story?

    Thank You,

    • Tom Hopp says:

      Thanks, Vicky. I’m glad you enjoyed Earthfall. The situation with sequels is a bit complicated. Earthfall itself is a re-write of the original story, Dinosaur Wars, which was released in print ten years ago by iUniverse Books. The second book in the series is Counterattack, which was also released by iUniverse. Unfortunately, right now that paper version is the only available version of book two, and the publisher has a pretty high price tag on it. You might find a used book on Amazon or elsewhere for about half price.

      I’m planning to release an ebook version of Counterattack sometime late this year, after rewriting several sections. This rewriting is the slow part of the process. I’m doing it so that the eventual trilogy will have consistent plotting and style.

      Sorry I don’t have the quick answer, click here and get the second ebook. Trust that I am working diligently to get to that point. Meanwhile, the short stories of my Dinosaur Tales series are meant to appease any hunger you might feel for updates on the doings of Kit Daniels and her beau, Chase Armstrong. Of course, that gets things a little out of order, but none of the stories give away anything important about the others, so read on fearlessly!

      I’ve begun sketching together the third book of the trilogy, Blood On The Moon, so by sometime next year I should have all the holes filled in the series.

  2. Vicky Cech says:

    Thank you for the quick reply. I want to wait for the rewrite of Counter Attack. But will definely check out Dinosur Tales until then. Vicky

  3. Inferdramon says:

    That is a really informative pterosaur site. I’ll bookmark it for later. A friend of mine is really into pterosaurs. I’m sure she’ll love that site.

    I finally got around to coloring that Ugon picture, after two to three years of procrastination.


  4. Tom Hopp says:

    That is very cool, Kacie. I’ll have to put it up on another of my posts sometime, if you don’t mind.

  5. Inferdramon says:


    And sure, go ahead. I don’t mind.

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