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Large last gasp of pterosaurs



> ...among pterosaurs, the survivor's trend was apparently
> toward larger fliers and those big animals would still be able to launch
> and fly today, were they here.

Definitely.  Inability to fly is an unlikely cause of extinction.  I'm
sure they were awesome fliers.  If I were to guess at a cause I would say
much smaller predatory birds did them them in.  The main idea here being
that they may have increased their range to now include very remote Q.
breeding grounds.

> Even the smaller type of Quetzalcoatlus
> is more robust and heavier than any modern flying bird.  They seem to
> have been quite sucessful all the way to the end of the latest
> Cretaceous.

Fantastic creatures, for sure.  But I'm not sure why you want to isolate
Q. from the likely cause of extinction of most other pterosaurs.  A pretty
good first order hypothesis is that were immune for a time because, like
modern albatrosses (for e.g.) they had extremely remote nesting places.

> Oh.  I thought there were no known large flying birds at the end of the
> Cretaceous. The simplest explanation here is that perhaps it was due to
> pterosaurian competition.  To imply that pterosaurs were out-competed by
> birds sounds like a vast, catastropic, generalization.  :-)

Again, I don't think size was important (necessarily, at least).