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Re: birds and pterosaurs (long)
Soaring, yes; big kite, not so much.
For very large pterodactyloids of the Cretaceous (and especially late
K), soaring does seem to be the primary mode of flight (judging by body
size, wing shape, and deposit of fossils in pelagic habitats).
However, this is very different from saying that they were just 'big
kites' or 'too big to fly well'. The old (19th to early 20th century)
concept was that pterosaurs were awkward fliers incapable of powered
flight. This was almost certainly not the case.
However, just as modern procellariform seabirds have evolved to utilize
dynamic soaring as their primary form of flight, the large-bodied
pterodactyloids of the late K probably utilized marine soaring as a
primary flight mode. This is not to say that the flight was 'weak' or
'passive'. Marine soaring is a highly efficient, highly derived form
of flight that allows for excellent efficiency per distance and time,
and requires strong control and large, high aspect ratio wing shapes.
On Monday, October 10, 2005, at 02:55 AM, Roberto Takata wrote:
Is still validy the assumption that pterosaur was mainly a soaring
flier (a some kind of big kite)?