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>Nicholas R. Longrich writes;
 It also explains why there is a maximum size on how big a flying animal can 
get, because downward pull relates to your mass(which is related to your 
volume) and upward lift is related to your surface area. Mass increases 
much more quickly than surface area, so bigger animals have more trouble 
staying aloft. <

Why don't we see hummingbird sized vultures instead of the Andean Condor,
which is, I think, THE largest flying bird? Isn't the "prime" surface area,
the naked body, offset by the added suface area of the very feathers that
allow flight? Isn't it interseting that the best soaring birds are also
large? It seems natural selection has favored these types of birds because
they have adapted their body structure to use as little energy as possible to
cover as much acreage as possible. While there are, surely, upper limits to
this size to weight ratio thing it would seem that some species have adapted
quite well. Perhaps the reason we don't see 747 size birds is the food
requirements rather than the mass to surface area rule. Wasn't there a
petrosaur with the wingspan of a private plane? One wonders how big they
would be by now, if there had not been the K/T event.

Roger A. Stephenson