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Quetzalcoatlus ecology (was T. rex vision)
Dr Naish concludes that, based on the anatomical evidence,
"azhdarchids were stork-like generalists, picking up assorted
invertebrate and vertebrate prey from shallow water and/or terrestrial
environments." I like his line of reasoning, although I doubt it's
the last word on the topic. I hope his blog on azhdarchid
ecomorphology, by reference to modern analogs, gets morphed into a
Like Jim, I also find the stork analog unlikely. I think Darren
(despite being quite an insightful guy) has overlooked how storks
actually feed; their feeding behavior actually has a lot of
similarities to that of herons. In fact, storks sometimes snap up
small birds that are airborne. Storks are rapid strike predators.
Opportunistic yes, but not dippers.
It is also worth noting that Dr. Naish pins some of his conclusions on
assumptions about Quetzalcoatlus flight parameters (and flight
mechanics in general) that are in error. For example, he seems to
confuse the adaptations for gliding and convective soaring. Vultures
are great convective soarers; they're not great gliders. More to the
point, Dr. Naish uses a broad-wing, low aspect ratio model of Quetz.
planform to help reject the vulture-type hypothesis. This would, in
fact, be evidence _for_ a vulture-like flight mode. I happen to
disagree with that wing reconstruction for various reasons, and thus
also reject the obligate scavenger model, so I agree on that point in
the end. It is important to reject ideas for the right reasons,
There are also some errors concerning which locomotor modes have strong
hindlimbs relative to the forelimbs, at least for the bird analogs.
Note that length and robustness (or, more accurately, strength) should
not be confused.
All that said, I love Dr. Naish's blog. Thanks to Darren for making
such an informative and well-written blog available. I just happen to
disagree with some of the points raised in this case.