Those 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.