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Re: landing in non-cycads



Susan Lee Bassham wrote:

<I've seen flying foxes (which I think of as ungainly, if not
unmaneuverable landers) sort of throw themselves into the upper, bushy
and flexible branches of angiosperms with wings outspread for
grasping. After lots of bouncing and some thrashing, they folded
themselves in amongst the branches. This looked like landings I've
seen of mammalian gliders and long distance tree to tree leapers.
Couldn't a pterasaur have done the same? (please note: I know little
about pterasaurs)>

  The wings of pterosaurs have very long, stiffened fingers at the
leading edge, while flying foxes have many more, and flexible.
Strength for flight relies on a stiff leading edge, and while bats can
stiffen their wings, this is less easily done than in pterosaurs or
birds.

  Not to put bats down, they're really cool, especially brown bats and
other megachiropterans, but gliders are really the more effecient at
this sort of leaping into trees.

  Bats are also a whole lot smaller than pterosaurs, even the smaller
ones like *Anurognathus*, which was bird sized with a mere 2 ft.
wingspan (the size of many large bats, in fact). Now, these smaller
fellows might have been able to achieve the affect you're thinking
about, but flexibility counts for a lot as well, especially of the
spine. Larger pterosaurs had synsacra and notaria, and smaller
pterosaurs have the synsacra, like birds, but again are normally much
larger.

  *Anurognathus* and kin may have landed on such large branches, but
still, their size is in the robin range, and that's not small.
Flexible branches would be too difficult for such a rather ungainly
creature (when not in flight, that is) to easily grasp. It might miss
as many times as succeed, and that would be rather difficult a life
for the little fellows, especially if a foot or wing got broken in the
process.

  I know this is a little incoherent, so I appologize.

==
Jaime A. Headden

Qilong, the website, at:
http://members.tripod.com/~Qilong/qilong.html
---
All comments and criticisms are welcome!

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