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Re: Pterorhynchus dewlap

I guess with that we can toss out all thoughts of pterosaurs trying to reduce drag through streamlining.

Something else seems to be more important --  at least to this one.

I would further add that tossing out "all thoughts" of streamlining is a bit extreme, not only because it ignores the relative importance of streamlining different parts of the animal, but also because such a statement suggests that a streamlined animal must be adapted to lower drag at every turn possible.

In reality, drag needs to be reduced "enough" (which varies from case to case), and only rarely to an absolute minimum. Pterosaurs have big draggy heads (most of them), but probably had very efficient airfoils. Even with a dewlap, the L/D ratio could have been quite good. There is always the possibility that Pterorhynchus had adaptations elsewhere in its morphology to increase lift to compensate for the draggy dewlap, as well.

I guess the message I'm trying to send is that considering the importance of drag without considering the efficiency of lift production can lead to poor conclusions.


--Mike Habib