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Re: A funny thing happened when I got a hold of some balsa wood....

At 11:58 25/10/96 -0500, Peter Buchholz wrote:

> I'm not sure what this means for a flapping animal, but it seems like 
>the wide-winged pterosaur idea is inherently unstable aerodynamically.

I think that you have hit on the key problem.  In existing flying animals
long, narrow wings are excellent for gliding but poorer for manoueverability
(eg albatrosses, molossid bats) while wider wings aid flapping and steering.
There is  a surprising amount variation in the wing shapes of living birds
and bats, related to the places they live and the kind of flying they do.  I
see no reason why this should not have been equally true of pterosaurs - why
it should be assumed that  something like Anurognathus should have the same
wing configuration as something like Quetzalcoatlus is beyond me.
Ronald I. Orenstein                           Phone: (905) 820-7886 (home)
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