Anatomical secrets of ‘ridiculously long’ pterosaur necks

Azhdarchid pterosaurs were the largest animals ever to take to the sky: these massive flying reptiles were cousins of the dinosaurs, with epic wingspans of up to 12 metres. According to the fossil record, they dominated the skies from about the Late Triassic, some 225 million years ago, up until the end of the Cretaceous about 66 million years ago.

The creatures have long puzzled scientists, who sought to understand how they were able to support necks which were longer than a giraffe’s and which, in some cases, had a fifth vertebra as long as the animal’s entire body.

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