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Re: Tapejara Military Drone

As Paul MacCready once said to me, "It's like putting the feathers on the wrong end of an arrow shaft". There are other, more productive uses for the head crest, but that doesn't mean that the crest couldn't be used for production of limited yawing moments. Using it for production of large moments would likely lead to the animal's early demise. That said, there aren't very many of us who have built flying pterosaur replicas, and I'm very happy to see them joining the crowd. I don't really care what they choose to investigate with the replica. It's all good.

As an aside, I once ran the numbers for MacCready to see if a pterosaur replica could be capable of flapping flight near the surface of Mars -- it could.

----- Original Message ----- From: "Mike Habib" <habib@jhmi.edu>
To: "DML list" <dinosaur@usc.edu>
Sent: Tuesday, October 07, 2008 12:01 PM
Subject: Re: Tapejara Military Drone

I'm very happy to see them doing this project, as well. However, I am slightly concerned with the apparent fixation/focus on using the head and crest to generate the rolling and yawing moments. It can be used to do so, but a) the wings should still be the primary control surface (especially for roll) and b) Ross Elgin et al have data suggesting that large turning moments about the head would be damaging to the upper cervicals and basicranium in most taxa (dsungeripterids, with their massively expanded post-occipital process might have bucked the trend in this regard).

Still, it's neat stuff :)


On Oct 7, 2008, at 1:18 AM, jrc wrote:

Doesn't matter that it has been done before, and doesn't matter thant pterosaurs aren't dinosaurs -- I'm glad to see Sankar doing it !!
I don't know if the group of previous builders they're joining is select, but it sure is small :-)
P.S. If they are doing a true membrane wing, they are in for quite a steep learning curve. If a semi-rigid wing like MacCready, it will be a lot easier.

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