A large Quetzalcoatlus flying in the cloudy sky during the Cretaceous period.

Science

Scientists find one-of-a-kind bone structure that helped pterosaurs fly

Mark Stevenson/Stocktrek Images/Stocktrek Images/Getty Images

Davide Bonadonna

Pterosaurs — massive, winged reptiles more closely related to birds than modern lizards — are some of the strangest animals known to science.

Pterosaurs of the Azhdarchidae family (known as azhdarchids) had necks longer than those of giraffes.

Before now it was unclear how the thin bones required for flight could support the weight of their heads, especially when they were capturing prey.

Mark Witton