|“||He is Ornithocheirus. Twelve meters from wingtip to wingtip and with a body bigger than a man's, he is the undisputed king of the sky.||„|
|— Allen, about Ornithocheirus|
Ornithocheirus (name meaning "Bird Hand") is a genus of large pterosaur that originated during the Early Cretaceous in what is now North America, South American, and Europe. With a wingspan measuring 12 meters long, Ornithoceirus was one of the largest pterosaurs of all time, yet due to a lightweight body of hollow-bones filled with air sacks, it probably weighed less than 100 kg (the single heaviest parts being the crests and needle-like teeth).
One of the primary animals needed for the park, a large male Ornithocheirus was rescued and brought back to the park from Early Cretaceous Europe 127 million years ago in the Series 2 episode "Clash of the Titans". He resides in the Aviary with the other pterosaurs.
Era & DiscoveryEdit
Ornithocheirus lived worldwide during the Early to Middle Cretaceous period, from 135–100 million years ago. During its time, Ornithocheirus was known as the undisputed king of the skies. Since its discovery in 1861, some of the best Pterosaur fossils have come from the Araripe Plateau in north-west Brazil.
Ornithocheirus was one of the largest pterosaurs that ever lived, after Quetzalcoatlus. Their wingspan was 40 feet (12 m) wide from wingtip to wingtip and, with a body larger than a humans, their whole bodies weighed less than 100 kilograms, which allowed them to glide effortlessly over vast distances.
Like many larger pterosaurs, Ornithocheirus had an enormous head relative to its body length. The jaw supported numerous long, slender, pointed teeth, useful for catching a slippery diet of fish and squid. The crest of the Ornithocheirus may have offered some aerodynamic advantage in flight or it may have been an indicator of gender or for species recognition.
Behavior & TraitsEdit
Ornithocheirus possessed had a lifespan of over forty years and most of their lives were spent wandering the globe in search of food. When it was time to find a mate, they would fly as far as to the other side of the world, but will often be grounded because of heavy tropical storms. And the fine downy fur on their bodies needed to be kept dry.
They also often busied themselves with grooming themselves and were also often plagued by biting parasites that tapped into the blood vessels on their wing membranes. If males were to find a mate, they had to be in prime condition. They had to keep the parasites in check.
Like all giant pterosaurs, Ornithocheirus could use their enormous wings to ride on the warm air currents that rise over the land. Male Ornithocheirus advertise their vigor and size to attract females out of the air as well as to ward off rival males. Males flash their red crests to impress females. Mating itself, however, is brief. Afterward, the males will resume displaying in hopes of attracting more females. The females themselves, however, would leave. When males died from heat stress and lack of food, which would all but kill them, these kings of the skies would lose their majesty. But they became food for the next generation. Although as long traveling as their lives are, Ornithocheirus is, without a doubt, among the largest creatures that has ever flown.
|“||Ornithocheirus is one of the largest pterosaurs that ever ruled the skies, after the magnificent Quetzalcoatlus. Living a life-span of over forty years, these giants of the skies traveled all across the planet.||„|
|— Allen, in his Journal, about Ornithocheirus|
- The sound effects of Ornithocheirus are a mix of a donkey, sea lion, hawk, and eagle sounds.
- Ornithocheirus was the first giant pterosaur brought back to the Park. Additionally, it was also the second-largest brought back.