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Re: Last of the Pterosaurs

Rob Gay wrote:

<It would be interesting to see something on the estimated mass of the
animal vs. the force needed to lift of vs. the estimated force derived
from the flight surfaces.>

  At this point in the game, it must be presumed that all pterosaurs
could based on general morphology, setting, etc. Ability _in_ flight,
metabolism, etc. are secondary analyses, but complementary, if one
starts with this assumption. Degree of flight, endurance, etc. are
mechanical questions in relationship. The problem is _how_ they got
into the sky, no _if_ they could. For the bigger ones, like
azhdarchids, this really is the number one question, as well as the
proportionately short wings. Morphology suggests that azhdarchids could
fly, with advanced features in the wing system that point to countering
the weight of the body (for instance, t-shaped wing phalanges, the
short wing, even the shoulder is different -- any bone from the wing
can be identified succinctly as azhdarchid and soley as azhdarchid, all
mechanically offer the ability to fly with great weight, and
*Queztalcoatlus northropi* even appears to be over-muscled for its
size). There are no living analogues, quite like azhdarchids. Skimming
feeders, like *Rhynchops*, and slightly similar large-fliers like
pelicans are comparable in degrees, not on the whole.

  So these pterosaurs are like Sue: they are revising everything you
thought you knew about pterosaurs by putting the little flittering
critters in their place.

Jaime "James" A. Headden

  Dinosaurs are horrible, terrible creatures! Even the
  fluffy ones, the snuggle-up-at-night-with ones. You think
  they're fun and sweet, but watch out for that stray tail
  spike! Down, gaston, down, boy! No, not on top of Momma!

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