10 Terrifying Prehistoric Animals — That Weren’t Dinosaurs

Published February 19, 2015
Updated November 7, 2023

Prehistoric Animals: Quetzalcoatlus


On the ground, Quetzalcoatlus was about the size of a giraffe. Image Source: Go Pix Pic

Let’s quickly dispel a myth: Despite being featured in every dinosaur movie and TV show ever, the pterodactyl was not a dinosaur. It was a pterosaur, a completely different order from dinosaurs. But even the pterodactyl wasn’t the most dangerous thing in the skies. That honor goes to quetzalcoatlus, the largest creature ever to fly.

The problem is that due to poor fossil records, we don’t know exactly how big it was. Modern estimates place its wingspan at around 35 feet (while earlier estimates were much more generous, at more than 60 feet).

Weight is even more difficult to measure, but scientists think they weighed between 450 and 550 pounds.

Next up: Its teeth were too big for its own mouth…

John Kuroski
John Kuroski is the editorial director of All That's Interesting. He graduated from New York University with a degree in history, earning a place in the Phi Alpha Theta honor society for history students. An editor at All That's Interesting since 2015, his areas of interest include modern history and true crime.
Savannah Cox
Savannah Cox holds a Master's in International Affairs from The New School as well as a PhD from the University of California, Berkeley, and now serves as an Assistant Professor at the University of Sheffield. Her work as a writer has also appeared on DNAinfo.
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Kuroski, John. "10 Terrifying Prehistoric Animals — That Weren’t Dinosaurs." AllThatsInteresting.com, February 19, 2015, https://allthatsinteresting.com/terrifying-prehistoric-creatures. Accessed June 13, 2024.