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Re: Pterosaur Fur

It doesn't need structural strength, it simply needs to trigger a flow separation, which it would do quite well (note though, that I agree that pterosaur wings are unlikely to have had 'fur' or fuzz'. about the only place on the wing they could have afforded 'fur' would have been immediately behind the humerus). Placing an imitation of fur on a flying pterosaur model reduces the gliding performance by about 30%. In passing, the hands can also be used to trigger separation.

----- Original Message ----- From: "MICHAEL HABIB" <habib@jhmi.edu>
To: <glenled@yahoo.com>
Cc: <dinosaur@usc.edu>
Sent: Tuesday, October 16, 2007 11:22 AM
Subject: Re: Pterosaur Fur

Even if the wings had hair (unlikely, as has been
mentioned), long fur/fuzz is unlikely to have the
structural strength required to resist aerodynamic
loads.  Hair simply doesn't make for a very good
spoiler.  John Conway already mentioned some viable
methods for warping the wing.  It turns out that
pterosaur wings could change shape in a number of
ways, though I do agree that it is not immediately
obvious/intuitive when looking at them for the first

There is one way that the fuzz/hair on pterosaurs
could be aerodynamically useful, however, and that
is in the production of a turbulent boundary layer.

A nice, "outside the box" type question.  Good to
see more people thinking about pterosaurs!


--Mike H.

----- Original Message -----
From: Glen Ledingham <glenled@yahoo.com>
Date: Monday, October 15, 2007 2:38 pm
Subject: Pterosaur Fur
To: dinosaur@usc.edu

If pterosaur wing fur/fuzz was long enough and if it
could be erected as mammal fur can, perhaps it could
have served as an aerodynamic spoiler for changing
flight attitudes.  This would be easier than warping
the wing, which looks difficult with the single-finger
leading edge.

Just an idea from an amateur, thrown out for
dissection by the experts.

Glen Ledingham