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Re: Quetzalcoatlus questions

dexter dexter wrote:

> #1 - What's a reasonable size estimate ? They range from 40 to 66 feet. I'm 
> pretty sure the
> upper end is exagerated, but is 50 feet unreasonable?

Yes, it is unreasonable.  It is difficult to restore the missing bits to a span 
greater than
about 36 feet when soaring, and the  probable span would likely have been more 
like 34-35 feet
when flapping.  But Quetz doesn't appear to be at the upper size limit for 
pterosaur flight

> #2 - Would it be unreasonable to think those huge thing could DIVE like some 
> modern birds.
> Fly over water, and dive under the surface to grab a fish and then fly out 
> ...? I heard some
> birds can dive as deep as a hundred feet (and very fast). But in this case, 
> the thing's HUGE.

Pretty unreasonable.  Best glide speed is about 45 mph, and whacking the water 
at that speed
could give one a headache.  Or, given the limited neck mobility of Quetz, a 
neckache  -- sort of
like hitting the end of the rope on a gallows.  Relaunching out of deep water 
could be
problematic as well, since Quetz doesn't appear to have had sufficient muscle 
power to launch by
flapping.  I could easily visualize Quetz launching out of shallow water though.

> #3 - What would be a decent weight estimate? 200-300 pounds?

I think the low to mid 300 pound range.  Last I heard, Greg thinks in the mid 
400's.  Though the
animal could certainly carry that weight, it would imply that the wing might be 
operating at a CL
above the optimum.  Insofar as I know, no one has yet completed a really 
satisfactory analysis of
the probable mass.  I'd need about another 30 manhours to complete mine, and so 
far I've found
other places to spend my time. Weights in the 200-300 pound range seem 
unreasonably low, implying
insufficient muscle to drive the skeletal frame.Jim