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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.

Not very.

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. PhD. Candidate Center for Functional Anatomy and Evolution Johns Hopkins School of Medicine 1830 E. Monument Street Baltimore, MD 21205 (443) 280 0181 habib@jhmi.edu