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Re: vaulting pterosaur launch, questions
Apart from bringing one back to life somehow, exactly how do we
"properly" establish that Archie flew? The fossil evidence is
entirely consistent with an animal that was most likely at least a
rudimentary flapping flyer.
Actually, it's a bit mixed in this regard.
Actually, it may be more uncertain than previously thought. I was
pretty well convinced that Archaeopteryx must have been volant until
fairly recently - the feathers were certainly appropriate for
aerodynamic force generation, the hindlimbs were sufficient for a
leaping launch, and the flight muscle fraction would have been just
within the limits required to sustain some degree of flapping flight -
but my work on structural mechanics, and those of Scott Hartman on the
inboard wing, call some of the prior assumptions into question.
Okay, very funny :) Seriously, though, there's a lot to this
question of importance: it includes launch, power output, flapping
kinematic, and landing dynamics.
Seriously though, these questions are equally as valid for all
flapping flyers, not just Archie.
Michael Habib, M.S.
Center for Functional Anatomy and Evolution
Johns Hopkins School of Medicine
1830 E. Monument Street
Baltimore, MD 21205
(443) 280 0181