Most Azhdarchids Were Small

This is a short post (literally)
Everyone goes crazy over giant azhdarchids, but the fact is most were small to tiny (Fig. 1). The cause of gigantism is still unknown, but here, among these stork-like wading pterosaurs, it certainly enabled wading into deeper waters. It is also notable that there is isometric scaling going on here. The larger ones, like Quetzalcoatlus, are not much more robust than the tiny ones, like no. 42.

Azhdarchids and Obama

Figure 1. Click to enlarge. Here’s the 6 foot 1 inch President of the USA alongside several azhdarchids and their predecessors. Most were knee high. The earliest examples were cuff high. The tallest was twice as tall as our President. This image replaces an earlier one in which a smaller specimen of Zhejiangopterus was used.

I have a date tonight and have to get to work soon, hence the brevity of this post. We’re about three weeks away from our 365th heresy.

More tomorrow.

Addendum:
Thanks to Armchair Paleontologist for noting I earlier used a smaller Zhejiangopterus specimen. That was featured later here. And below, a selection of large azhdarchids, unfortunately none of them complete as fossils. 

The larger azhdarchids.

Figure 2. The larger azhdarchids.

7 thoughts on “Most Azhdarchids Were Small

  1. Unwin, D. & Lü J. (1997) (although you don’t really like the persons involved in this paper, I understood) mentioned a wingspan of about 3.5 meters for [i]Zhejiangopterus[/I], about half the size of “Quetzalcoatlus” sp. so I think that [I]Zhejiangopterus[/I] should be much larger than depicted

    And also, what’s your opinion on [I]Hatzegopteryx thambema[/I]? and why are there nothing about it in the scale bar?

  2. Well, Arambourgiania (=”Titanopteryx”) is one of the first azhdarchids discovered (described in 1987)
    From Wikipedia, the holotype is a fifth cervical vertebra (coded VF 5), now stored in the University of Jordan

    References :
    Arambourg, C. (1959). “Titanopteryx philadelphiae nov. gen., nov. sp. Ptérosaurien géant.” Notes Mém. Moyen-Orient, 7: 229–234
    Frey, E. & Martill, D.M. (1996). “A reappraisal of Arambourgiania (Pterosauria, Pterodactyloidea): One of the world’s largest flying animals.” N.Jb.Geol.Paläont.Abh., 199(2): 221-247

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