Estimating weight for Quetzalcoatlus

Short one today.
Imagining the weight of a pterosaur known from bits and pieces requires extrapolation from data provided by smaller, but similar hollow-boned vertebrates. A graph of height vs. weight in large pterosaurs and large birds (Fig. 1) might help, but estimates at the far end still vary greatly. As you can see, hollow bones make a big difference. It may be surprising, that a stork at 1.3 m (5 ft) tall weighs about 5 kilograms (15 lbs). Pterosaurs were similar.

Figure 1. Estimating giant azhdarchid weight from estimated height and comparables with similar smaller taxa.

Figure 1. Estimating giant azhdarchid weight from estimated height and comparables with similar smaller taxa.

Earlier we looked at the short wings with vestigial distal phalanges present in Quetzalcoatlus, removing the big ones from the possibility of flying, as in giant birds.

In conclusion,
does it make sense that the smaller Q. sp. weighed no more than 15kg (33 lbs)? Does it make sense that the larger one, Q. northropi, known from fewer bones, might weigh between an unlikely 20kg (44 lbs) to a more reasonable 125 kg (275 lbs)? Here are some other largest pterosaurs for more comparisons (Fig. 2).

Figure 1. Click to enlarge. The largest flying and non-flying birds and pterosaurs to scale.

Figure 1. Click to enlarge. The largest flying and non-flying birds and pterosaurs to scale.

 

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