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Ghukumatzlu by Cephlaken Ghukumatzlu by Cephlaken
Ghukumatzlu

Although the K-T extinction event itself, the Chicxulub asteroid striking Earth never happened in this alternative world, the repeated Mid-Cretaceous glaciations had severe impact on the great ecosystems of the Mid-Cretaceous world, although not as seriously as the K-T in our timeline. While many clades which went extinct in our timeline survived, most of the megafauna were still wiped off the face of the Earth, including many lineages of dinosaurs, pterosaurs, mosasaurs and other various Mesozoic clades. Thousands of the Mesozoic fauna were killed during the Ice Ages, and the series of violent volcanic eruptions from the Deccan Traps which caused global disaster also proved to be fatal.

However, smallish omnivorous azhdarchids still managed to survive the Middle Cretaceous glaciation events, being fairly adaptable. Many of the smaller azhdarchids in the Northern Hemisphere, called Zlus, evolved thicker fluff to survive in the extremely low temperatures, acting as middle-sized predatory omnivores foraging for carrion and fallen fruit or hunting small reptilians and mammalians. They still retained flight, since food supply is not always plentiful in the barren Northern tundras and because they have nomadic tendancies, constantly searching for food, with a few species having migratory tendancies, flying to more southern latitudes during winter.

Most azhdarchid lineages enjoyed expansion during the Eocene, taking advantage of the higher temperatures and flourishing. However, basically being foragers of wide open habitats in lower temperatures, Zlus greatly receded during the Eocene expansion of tropical/subtropical forests and deserts. However, Zlus survived the Eocene-Oligocene maximum thermal with relatively little damage and again expanded during the dry, wide open habitats of the Oligocene. During the Miocene, although the Middle Miocene Disruptions killed off some Zlus, they again survived with little damage, surviving again during the Pleistocene glaciations and finally surviving into the Holocene, growing larger and larger until they became the biggest predators in their habitats, with some reaching the glorious sizes of their Mesozoic relatives such as Quetzalcoatlus and Hatzegopteryx.

The Ghukumatzlu is the largest pterosaur alive, and also the largest land predator alive.

Ghukumatzlus are the world's largest flying creature with a rather appalling, intimidating appearance. Their wingspans commonly reach over 10 meters, with larger individuals reaching a 13 meter wingspan and weighing around 450 killograms. Individuals of wingspans up to 14 meters are also known. They are adaptable omnivores found in amost every biome in the Northern hemisphere except for the northernmost latitudes and densely wooded forests.

They are very conservatively-shaped azhdarchids, as with most of the species belonging to the Zlu lineage. They all have a giant skull (reaching up to 2.5 meters in length) with long, heavy and rather thick (comparable to that of the giant Cretaceous Hatzegopteryx) bills, with slightly hooked tips. They have long, erect legs similar in shape and structure to that of long-legged modern ungulates perfect for striding across wide-open tundras. They are good at walking across long distances, being perfect striders. They stride in a rather strange, galloping manner; when on ground, they rest in a manner similar to that of giraffes. Ghukumatzlus also possess formidable, hooked claws which it uses to kick and gore potential enemies or prey, causing serious wounds or even killing the target. While they still possess wing patagium, the extra-flexible wing fibers enabling the patagium to expand to a rate which won't hinder them in striding. They have broad, short wings, and while they are rather clumsy in powered flight (being so large and all, and they use anaerobic respiration for powered flight which they can't keep up for a couple minutes), they are still fairly sufficient flyers when flying on thermals, being capable gliders/soarers and being capable of staying up in air for several hours. They are also good at rushed takeoffs, a good defense method when attacked by large dromaeosaurs in surprise and making a fast escape. Not that they are attacked frequently, being so intimidating in size and strength, and they are formidable fighters. Giant dromaeosaurs do occasionally attack an individual off guard in groups, but they mostly end up as seriously gored corpses. They rarely take flight, spending most of their time on the ground, only needing their flight skills when migrating in search of food or in immediate takeoffs.

Ghukumatzlus are thickly fluffed up compared to most azhdarchids, due to the low temperatures of their usual habitats. Their entire torso including the limbs is covered with fur except for the wing membranes (obviously), with the thickness often varying according to the season or the particular environment the individual is usually found in. During the winter, the base of the neck is greatly fluffed up more than the other body parts, giving the pterosaur a kind of 'maned' look. Their coloration is mostly a light, creamy vanilla shade, although some individuals are colored in grey and some aberrant mellanistic individuals are also known. They generally have orange bills.

They are generally in-between analogues of terror birds/grizzly bears/teratorns, massive omnivores which prefers to scavenge on carrion or bullying smaller predators from their kills by intimidating the opponent with shear size, but will also forage the grounds for fallen fruits, nuts, large insects and small animals, occasionally snap up fish and hunt down the calfs of large, clumsy herbivores. Some individuals were observed taking down other large azhdarchids, generally their smaller, less impressive relatives the Mountain Zlus. They basically eat anything, goaring, grabbing and swallowing any food item weighing under 50 killograms whole, while larger prey is shreded into smaller chunks by their beaks and claws and eaten.

Ghukumatzlus are all ovoviviparous, the female laying one or a couple (when food is plentiful) basketball-sized eggs in one season. They are in general polygamous, switching mates almost every year, but in a single year, they hunt and defend their offsprings in a monogamous pair. They rarely show any sexual dimorphism, although females are a bit larger than males on average.

The hatchlings are able to stride and fly from the second from they are born, although very wobbly at flight yet. Juveniles are covered in a layer of soft, white fuzz which they lose as they reach maturity. Until they learn all hunting skills, the juveniles are fed semi-digested food vomited up by their parents. They have life spans of up to 80 years.

my entry to the spec evo forums holiday competition
:iconplatypus12:
platypus12 Featured By Owner Dec 31, 2010
Very nice work! :D
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:iconmalevouvenator:
malevouvenator Featured By Owner Dec 10, 2010
I like the colour you place to the Ghukumatzlu.
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:iconkargaroc586:
kargaroc586 Featured By Owner Dec 10, 2010  Hobbyist General Artist
amazing...
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Submitted on
December 10, 2010
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