Science is full of controversies. Scientists are always debating over a variety of different topics. However, the characteristics of extinct animals is something that is fervently debated over. One of the main reasons that extinct animals are topics of debate is because no one can explicitly answer these questions and back it up with evidence because the animals are extinct. Although life size models can be created, these animals cannot be observed and studied live and therefore there cannot be any concrete evidence. This leads to many controversies, especially among dinosaurs.
The flying capacities of the Quetzalcoatlus, a large bird-like dinosaur, have been a recent topic of debate. Why has this been a topic of debate you ask? Well, for one, the proposed size of the bird, 70 kg (around 155 lbs) with a 10.4m wingspan , is very close to the supposed upper mass limit for a flying animal. If this is true, that means that this big dinosaur was not able to fly. Some scientists believe that the bird was actually bigger and had more muscle to enable flying. These scientists thought that the Quetzalcoatlus utilized a quadrupedal launch in which it leapt from four limbs in order to take off into the sky. However, this was not possible based on its size.
So then how did this larger than an F-16 fighter jet bird “create frightening shadow as it soared across the sky?”
Well, these uncoordinated and awkward dinosaurs utilized methods similar to an albatross or a frigate bird. Like the albatross and the techniques of hang gliding pilots, the Quetzalcoatlus needed to run, bipedally, down a steep hill so that it could pick up speed. After it picked up speed and used the downhill slope to its advantage, it would be able to take off. The Quetzalcoatlus had to depend on harnessing a wind gradient and an updraft in order to drift through the air like a hang glider. While it could soar and glide very well, it technically could not fly. This was the only way the Quetzalcoatlas took to the sky; “a standing takeoff of flying of such a heavy animal violates the laws of physics.”