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Re: pterosaurs & snakes

>As they got rid of their tail, however, the became far less stable in the
>air.  It was for this reason, that most pterodactyloids have crests on the
>head; it serves as a rudder while in flight.

According to Dr Peter Wellnhofer's book, Pterodactyloids were extermely
stable flyers. Computer models and wind-tunnel tests on Pteranodon have
shown it to have stalling speeds as slow as 10mph.

Also, Quetzalcoatlus (the largest known Pterosaur) had only a very small
crest (although its long beak could serve much the same function).

I agree with you about early Pterosaurs needing the tail for stability.
However the tail caused extra drag, so one who could maintain stable flight
without a tail would have a competitive advantage.

Anyway, I'm only an enthuastic amateur, so if any of you experts know better
please shout me down. :-)

James Shields/jshields@iol.ie
And when the ark was finished Noah said unto Elvis, "What do you reckin?"
And Elvis checked out his own cabin and shook his head saying "poky".
And so did they knock several walls through and install a jaccuzzi.
And when it was all done Noah scratched his beard and said, "We don't have
room for all the animals now."
And Elvis perused the livestock list and in his wisdom said, "Lose the
        -Robert Rankin, The Suburban Book of the Dead