Meet Quetzalcoatlus: The 50-Foot Flying Dinosaur in Jurassic World Dominion

Written by Colby Maxwell
Published: June 18, 2022
Share on:


Jurassic World Dominion introduced us to a lot of new dinosaurs that many of us have never seen before! Among them were some of the scariest, biggest, and coolest dinos ever recreated on film. In one scene that anyone who has seen the movie will remember, a massive flying dinosaur swoops down and makes things… well, interesting for everyone on a particular airplane. Let’s meet Quetzalcoatlus: the 50-foot flying dinosaur in Jurassic World Dominion!

Did Quetzalcoatlus exist in real life?

Meet Quetzalcoatlus: The 50-Foot Flying Dinosaur in Jurassic World Dominion
© 2022 Universal Studios and Amblin Entertainment. All Rights Reserved.

Throughout the history of Jurassic Park, there have been a few dinosaurs that haven’t been “real.” Indominus Rex and Indoraptor come to mind as being a mashup of other dinosaur DNA that didn’t exist in real life millions of years ago. Still, there are plenty of dinosaurs that did exist, many of which we have near-completed skeletons! As crazy as it sounds, Quetzalcoatlus was at one point a real animal that lived on earth.

Quetzalcoatlus was a massive flying dinosaur that may just be the largest flying creature to have ever lived. As members of the pterodactyl family, these animals were truly the kings of the skies.

Quetzalcoatlus in the movie

The first time that we see Quetzalcoatlus is in a flashback of the period it came from, the Cretaceous Period. In that clip, Quetzalcoatlus lands near some other pterosaurs and scavages on some scaps. Although it’s the first clip we see Quetzalcoatlus in, it doesn’t really show how large they could be.

It’s not until Owen (Chris Pratt), Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard), and Kayla (DeWanda Wise) are on their way into the Biosyn Sanctuary that we see one to scale. The trio is heading into the sanctuary, located in the Dolomite Mountains of Italy, and is in a large cargo plane. As they approach, they learn that the “aerial deterrent system” has been turned off, allowing the flying dinosaurs to rise above 500 feet. Within a few moments, a shadow sweeps across the plane, and a full-grown Quetzalcoatlus attacks. Within moments, the massive creature rips a hole in the aircraft and ends up crashing it.

We also see Quetzalcoatlus in a few other clips, albeit briefly. In one scene, Quetzalcoatlus is on top of the One World Trade Center in a nest. It can also be seen flying alongside other pterosaurs near the end of the movie.

How big was Quetzalcoatlus?

Meet Quetzalcoatlus: The 50-Foot Flying Dinosaur in Jurassic World Dominion

The largest flying reptile in history may have been Quetzalcoatlus.

©Ralf Juergen Kraft/

Quetzalcoatlus is widely recognized as one of the largest, if not the largest flying animals to have ever lived. Like most dinosaurs, there isn’t a sure answer to how large they were, just estimates based on fossil evidence. When Quetzalcoatlus was first discovered, estimates as to their wingspan averaged around 52 feet. Currently, the minimum estimated wingspan for the species is around 36 feet, or about 1.5 times the length of a standard school bus.

In regards to weight, scientists aren’t sure. There isn’t a lot of baseline for flying animals this large, and guessing its weight can be rather tough. Some extremely low estimates place Quetzalcoatlus at 150 lbs for a 32-foot wingspan individual, while others estimate around 440-550 lbs.

Could Quetzalcoatlus have taken down an airplane?

Meet Quetzalcoatlus: The 50-Foot Flying Dinosaur in Jurassic World Dominion

It is possible that a Quetzalcoatlus could have taken down an airplane if it really tried.

©Ekaterina Glazkova/

Quetzalcoatlus takes down a large cargo plane in the film, but could it have done so in real life? Well, it’s a bit complicated, but it is very likely it could have. The biggest problem it would have had was catching up to an airplane. On average, cargo and passenger planes fly around 560 mph, much faster than any animal can go. The current models for the top speed of Quetzalcoatlus place it around 80 mph, which is fast but not fast enough.

If Quetzalcoatlus was somehow able to drop in on an airplane as it was flying under it, it would have been able to wreak havoc. Airplanes are notoriously sensitive machines, and severe damage to the hull or engines could bring them down.

When was Quetzalcoatlus around?

Quetzalcoatlus was a pterosaur that lived during the Late Cretaceous period directly before the asteroid that caused earth’s most famous mass extinction. Fossil evidence points to Quetzalcoatlus living between 68-66 million years ago.

Where did Quetzalcoatlus live?

Quetzalcoatlus fossils were first discovered in Texas in the United States at Big Bend National Park in 1971. As such, Quetzalcoatlus would have lived in ancient North America. The region had a similar environment today as it did millions of years ago. The preferred habitat of Quetzalcoatlus was likely arid or semi-arid plains regions, which North America had plenty of.

The photo featured at the top of this post is © Ralf Juergen Kraft/

Share on:
About the Author

Colby is a writer at A-Z Animals primarily covering outdoors, unique animal stories, and science news. Colby has been writing about science news and animals for five years and holds a bachelor's degree from SEU. A resident of NYC, you can find him camping, exploring, and telling everyone about what birds he saw at his local birdfeeder.

Thank you for reading! Have some feedback for us? Contact the AZ Animals editorial team.