Geological Magazine

Short Communication

A terminal Cretaceous giant pterosaur from the French Pyrenees

a1 CNRS, UMR 5561 (Université de Bourgogne). Present address: Laboratoire de Paléontologie des Vertébrés, Case 106, Université Paris 6, 4 place Jussieu, 75252 Paris Cedex 05, France
a2 Musée des Dinosaures, 11260 Espéraza, France
a3 Université Paul Sabatier, Stratigraphie séquentielle et Micropaléontologie, URA CNRS 1405, 39 allées Jules Guesde, 31062 Toulouse Cedex, France


A very large pterosaur cervical vertebra is described from the Upper Maastrichtian deposits of Mérigon, in the foothills of the French Pyrenees. It resembles the vertebrae of Quetzalcoatlus, from the Maastrichtian of Texas, more than those of Arambourgiania, from the Maastrichtian of Jordan. The estimated wing span of the Mérigon pterosaur is close to 9 m, which makes it one of the largest known flying creatures. Giant pterosaurs still had a wide geographical distribution at the end of Maastrichtian time, which is not suggestive of a declining group, although it is difficult to obtain an accurate estimate of taxonomic diversity of terminal Cretaceous pterosaurs on the basis of available data.

(Received January 13 1997)
(Accepted May 9 1997)