Here is one of the largest flying reptiles ever discovered

Here is one of the largest flying reptiles ever discovered


The remains of this ancient giant reptile were discovered about 30 years ago in Canada, but we confused it with another species named Quetzalcoatlus. A re-analysis of fossils made by researchers at Queen Mary University in London now suggests that it is a different species, unknown to science. Evidenced by the bones of his neck, proportionately shorter and wider, and a finer humerus (long bone in the upper arm) compared to Quetzalcoatlus – among other features.

10 meters wingspan
The reptile discovered – now named Cryodrakon boreas (meaning “cold dragon of the north winds”) – had a wingspan of 5 meters. But it was a young specimen. The adults, we can read, could have reached 10 meters wingspan for about 250 kilos on the scale. This species evolved on Earth at the end of the Cretaceous about 77 million years ago.

“It’s great to be able to identify Cryodrakon as distinct from Quetzalcoatlus because that means we have a better idea of the diversity and evolution of pterosaur predators in North America,” says David Hone, lead author of the study.

Note that it may not be the largest, but this reptile still had to be in the air. Even though, like the vast majority of pterosaurs at the time, this one had to spend most of his time on the ground, evolving in a tropical environment. He was also probably carnivorous, feeding on small reptiles, mammals and baby dinosaurs. This pterosaur may have been hunted by other predators on the ground, such as T-Rex. But that remains only a supposition. No bite mark was found.

Other giants, even bigger, have already frequented the Earth. Witness the remains of a former flying predator that ruled the sky about 70 million years ago, discovered recently in Mongolia. If the species is not yet clearly identified, we know however that it had a wingspan of 11 meters. Size comparable to Hatzegopteryx and Quetzalcoatlus. According to some fossils, the latter could even display a wingspan of nearly 15 meters.