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May 30, 2011

Pterosaurs are Pterrifying

Filed under: Dinosaurs & Paleo-art — tb @ 8:21 pm

Well, maybe they aren’t quite “terrifying”, but new discoveries show they are much, *much* stranger than you may remember from your childhood.

Long gone are the days when we thought of pterosaurs as scaly, reptilian,dragon-winged vulturine creatures, jumping off of cliff-faces to gain enough lift to fly, skimming over the oceans to snatch  up fish, and sprawling bat-like and clumsily on the land. One family in particular fights against this antiquated misconception; The Azhdarchids.



The fellow above is an azhdarchid based off of the most popular member of the family; Quetzalcoatlus northropi.  These were some weiiiird-looking animals; covered in hair-like filaments, they had a sharp beak for plucking up prey, and some pretty bizarre leg structures…The back feet being plantigrade (walking with the heels and toes to the ground, like humans do) and the front limbs sporting unusually long metacarpals, giving the animal a very upright stance when on the ground.   Because of this, the azhdarchids are thought to have been primarily terrestrial creatures, stalking across the plains with giraffe-sized strides and snapping up whatever was small enough to fit in their beak.

 I really had a blast drawing this guy, in all his bizarre glory.  The thing I had the most fun with was that moose-like dewlap hanging from his throat..With a neck that long, it would almost be “wasted space” to not have a display of some sort hanging from it.  I also wanted to subtly push the giraffe-size-analogy, and gave the crest end on the back of the skull an ossicone-type tip.  With a creature this weird, it’s almost impossible to not enjoy drawing it..And the best part?  It’s a real animal, that really walked on this earth.

Nature is so bloody awesome.


Edit: Speaking of how damn cool nature is, here’s a preview of an upcoming blog post..Just received word this fellow is on his way;


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