Flying reptiles

Ornithocheirus - largest flying animal

Ornithocheirus (from Ancient Greek "ornis" meaning bird, and "cheiros" meaning hand) is a genus of flying reptiles that existed in the Late Cretaceous Period, about 110 million years ago. It was one of the largest flying animals that ever lived, with a wingspan of up to 12 m, body size up to 3.5 and head up to 1.5 m long.

With a body bigger than a human's, it must have been the undisputed "king of the skies" in its day. Its wings were made of skin stretched between an enormous elongated finger and ankle supported by the rest of its body and legs. Using rising air-currents, or "thermals", Ornithocheirus may have been able to fly hundreds of kilometers without flapping its wings, and this could probably account for the world wide distribution of its fossil remains.

Ornithocheirus was a carnivorous animal, feeding primarily on fish. Its fossils have been found in England and Brazil.

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