Fossilized "Dragon of Death" discovered in Argentina

Originally published at: Fossilized "Dragon of Death" discovered in Argentina | Boing Boing


I’m sure it always insisted on perching directly above Fred’s car right after he washed it.


Insects would like a word. Additionally, exactly how azhdarchids made a living is an open question, but cretaceous vultures seems to be the most popular option. Something that huge would probably have been not so nimble in the air, but would have been an immensely intimidating sight looming over a dino carcass.

Its remains had been preserved in rocks in the Andes mountains for 86 million years, which means the flying creature lived alongside dinosaurs.

All pterosaurs lived alongside dinosaurs.

(Takes off pedant cap and returns to his seat.)


Argentina gets 'em big, doesn’t it? Isn’t that where the giganotosaurus was discovered?


Mmm… Mendoza…

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Interesting video but I remain unconvinced that the guy and the bus were to the same scale. Given the stated wingspan I think the guy must have been a bit of a giant, too.

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The new standard of measurement.


Well, it’s one of them. The Register (UK) maintains the approved list of standard units. We can also measure the height in linguine, double-decker buses, brontasaurum, Devon fatbergs, or Osmans; linguine is the standard base unit, and one giraffe is equal to 43.5445 lg.

If you’re from MIT, you can add Smoots.

El Reg Units Converter


I assumed it flew instead of glided. From one of the linked articles, " Thanatosdrakon was found in floodplain deposits of ephemeral meandering systems indicating that this large flying species inhabited continental environments." Meandering flood plains do not have many high spots. I wonder if it rose into the air like a albatross?


Biomechanical studies have suggested these guys took off with a sort of “push-up” motion, using their flight muscles to launch themselves. This has the added benefit of not having to carry big leg muscles to get take off velocity.


There’s increasing backing for the “terrestrial stalking” model analogous to Storks. Where in they’re mostly ground based, and chase down small prey.

And while I dunno that “nimble in the air” is the idea but the consensus these days seems to be they were capable flyers fully capable of taking off from the ground.

I think the current idea is “quadrupedal launch”. A lot of the idea that these guys couldn’t truly fly, or couldn’t take off from the ground is down to the idea that they’d be too large to take off from a dead stop by flapping.

The idea is that they were very adept on the ground. And would run and bound till they’d gotten enough speed to take off.


Dear Wife describes my breath, in the early morning as “dragon of death”. I’m working on it…


As I said, an open question that we will probably never be able to definitively answer barring time travel. They were certainly full adapted, functional fliers. My comment was regarding hunting on the wing. These things being quadrupedal pursuit predators is tough to wrap my head around, as there is no analog in the current iteration of Planet Earth. Fun to try to imagine, though.


2-metre dragonflies whose only nod to evolution since was to shrink due to global warming.
Still the number one aerial hunters on the planet.


So the Jonny Quest intro was REAL!

But what I want to know is: did it taste like chicken?

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i think it’s that chicken tastes like them :cat2:


dumb question maybe, but do we know if atmospheric conditions were any different?

warmer planet? stronger winds? different oxygen/co2 differences?

anything that might mean they could fly better then versus if they were around now?

…Not if it comes from the upper Coniacian to lower Santonian it doesn’t. Those are part of the Late Cretaceous, contemporary with a wide variety of birds, about 35 million years after the Confuciusornis and 65 million years after Archaeopteryx.


Less pursuit predator than browsers/grazers as the idea.

Depending on the species seems to be grasslands or wetlands, some evidence of thin/mixed forest environments.

Stalking through open areas rousting critters and snapping them up, pulling shit out of burrows. That sort of thing.

IIRC existing trackways show these guys were pretty fast, and they’d have to be to take off. So I think it’s more sprinting than chasing shit down.

That’s the hook that makes it work for me. If you imagine these things plodding around an open space, shoving their noses into bushes and ponds

Only flying for travel or escape, not generally hunting on the wing.