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Palaeontology

How did giant pterosaurs fly ?

By T.K. Randall
October 2, 2011 · Comment icon 18 comments

Image Credit: Mark Witton, Darren Naish
The basic physics of how giant prehistoric flying reptiles flew has been challenged by scientists.
Depictions in books and models of pterosaurs soaring across the skies could be wrong according to new research, instead the creatures would have needed more crescent-shaped wings angled further forward than previously thought in order to sustain flight.
With 23-foot wingspans and hefty bodies, the largest of the ancient airborne reptiles of the era of the dinosaurs might seem the unlikeliest of flying machines. In fact, as commonly depicted, the largest of these animals, called pterosaurs, would have been unable to sustain flight, according to new research.


Source: Live Science | Comments (18)




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Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #9 Posted by marcos anthony toledo 13 years ago
A illustration of the new aerodynamic theory would have help explain the new flight of the giant pterosaurs more clearly :
Comment icon #10 Posted by dharma warrior 13 years ago
Aliens did it. Or maybe ghosts. I'm not sure.
Comment icon #11 Posted by angi chiesa 13 years ago
Theory states that the large BUMBLE BEE cannot fly. Noone has told the bee so it gets airborne and gathers honey.
Comment icon #12 Posted by BiffWellington 13 years ago
There's only one explanation...
Comment icon #13 Posted by Travelling Man 13 years ago
There's only one explanation... You, Sir, are a jerk. I REALLY like my diet cola beverage. Because of you and your picture, I spewed a large mouthful out - THROUGH MY NOSE!!! It hurt, and you should feel shame. Please don't do that again... or I will be forced to do something unpleasant to a small, cute, woodland creature, and I am sure that neither of us wants that to happen. Or do you?
Comment icon #14 Posted by BiffWellington 13 years ago
You, Sir, are a jerk. I REALLY like my diet cola beverage. Because of you and your picture, I spewed a large mouthful out - THROUGH MY NOSE!!! It hurt, and you should feel shame. Please don't do that again... or I will be forced to do something unpleasant to a small, cute, woodland creature, and I am sure that neither of us wants that to happen. Or do you? I'm sorry. Truly I am.... Or am I
Comment icon #15 Posted by DieChecker 13 years ago
There's only one explanation... I thought Babylon 5 was canceled. What is this guy doing, going to a B5 convention as a Centari?
Comment icon #16 Posted by BiffWellington 13 years ago
I thought Babylon 5 was canceled. What is this guy doing, going to a B5 convention as a Centari? AH! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA!
Comment icon #17 Posted by ShadowSot 13 years ago
What I got from it, is that the center of balance for pterosaurs is different that commonly depicted, and would have resulted in a different style of flight. They're commonly depicted as flying and soaring like birds, but like many depictions of dinosaurs, that may become anachronistic.
Comment icon #18 Posted by setaims 13 years ago
How exactly does a posi track rear end on a plymouth work...It just does.


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