Moviegoers have long been thrilled by pterosaurs -- from the Greek word, pterosauros, or "winged lizard" -- going all the way back to the original 1933 "King Kong" to 1966's "One Million Years B.C.," and in more recent dinosaur film fare such as 2001's "Jurassic Park III."
These prehistoric winged reptiles may have used warm air updrafts and wind currents to achieve their frequent-flier status, National Geographic reports.
They ranged in size from some with an average wingspan of 6 feet to the giant giraffe-sized Quetzalcoatlus of Texas that could reach up to a 30-foot wingspan.
At the recent annual meeting of the Society for Vertebrate Paleontology in Pittsburgh, paleontologist Michael Habib offered new findings about these remarkable flying animals based on new models of their wingspans, shape and body mass.
"They probably only flapped for a few minutes at a time ... and then their muscles had to recover," Habib said.
The giant Quetzalcoatlus pterosaur was so big, Habib added, "They are truly gruesomely huge by bird and bat standards."
Habib suggested that, if it's true these pterosaurs were able to stay aloft on high thermal updrafts, "It would make them the longest single-trip-distance fliers in the the Earth's history."
Read more at National Geographic.