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Pterosaurs have traditionally been depicted across the board as fish-eating coastal dwellers rather like reptilian gulls or albatross. Studies in the last few years, however, have proven what should be pretty obvious-- namely, that pterosaurs occupied a variety of ecosystems and ecological niches during their reign.
For instance, scientists recently discovered that large azhdarchid pterosaurs such as Quetzalcoatlus and Zhejiangopterus spent most of their time foraging on the ground in the vast inland fern-praires of the Cretaceous, rather like ground hornbills or (to use my own analogy) carnivorous giraffes. Despite their large size, ungainly-looking long neck and rather small wings, they could actually fly pretty good.
Unlike birds, which launch themselves into the air with their legs, pterosaurs pole-vaulted into the air on their front limbs, as illustrated by the critter on the right.


Quetzalcoatlus ©2011 John Meszaros.  All Rights Reserved