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RE: New bird /pterosaur flight paper in PLoS ONE





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> Date: Fri, 1 May 2009 09:01:59 +1000
> From: dannj@alphalink.com.au
> To: dinosaur@usc.edu
> Subject: Re: New bird /pterosaur flight paper in PLoS ONE
>
> Quoting "Simon M. Clabby" :
>
>>
>> Can I just play devil's advocate for a minute, and probably show how far 
>> behind with the
>> literature I am?
>>
>> Let's say large Azhdarchids are too big to fly. Is it possible that when 
>> younger they can fly
>> about, doing aerobatics and so on, but after their mating years are over, 
>> they keep growing, and
>> flight becomes more difficult, until one day they are grounded permanently? 
>> From this point, then
>> enter a terrestrial phase, scavenging from smaller predators kills, before 
>> either starving or
>> falling prey to a large predator.
>
> Substitute the word 'Azhdarchids' with 'dromaeosaurs' and you might be on to 
> something. :)
>
> However I suspect that pterosaurs were far too flight-specialised to have 
> been able to survive
> permanently on the ground for any length of time (ie. several years) - unless 
> there were some
> major changes to body form and terrestrial mobility in their later years 
> (such as loss of all flight
> membranes). 

Is it possible that the breeding individuals (of various pterosaurs, 
particularly Azhdarchids & other big ones) were of reasonable size and good at 
flying/soaring....while the massive fossils we find are of individuals whose 
flight skills are lessened because they are  past the prime age of breeding?

(the above theory relies on the assumption that, like crocodiles, pterosaurs 
don't stop growing until they die)


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