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Re: Pterosaur size (Was: Great in the air, not so good underwater)

----- Original Message ----- From: "Michael Habib" <mhabib5@jhmi.edu>
To: <DINOSAUR@usc.edu>
Sent: Tuesday, December 12, 2006 5:10 PM
Subject: Re: Pterosaur size (Was: Great in the air, not so good underwater)

This is why, for example, using bustards as a metric of near maximum sizes for volancy in birds is problematic.

--------This is true. The Whooper Swan 'Stonker' (JAP) was as massive as a Kori Bustard, flew by means of continous flapping, and traveled regularly between Scotland, Iceland, and sometimes Ireland. He was a flier of the first order, and doesn't seem to have been struggling to achieve volancy. Once, during a gale off the coast of Iceland, while wearing a radio tracker, he made one of the most remarkable emergency endurance flights that I am aware of.

I agree this may be true; I also think such conditions may be more widespread than we give credit for.

-------Yes. I tend to think it is a fluke that there aren't more giant fliers at the moment.

It appears that pterosaurs ended up huge more regularly than birds (and became much large-bodied overall) because their membranous wings and launch system made large size especially viable.

------Yes, though I note that for an equivilent span, pterosaurs tended to have smaller torsos than birds -- but their heads and necks tended to be larger, sometimes much larger.

(though hindsight is 20/20).

-----Mine ain't. Jim