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Re: Discovery tonight ... 8 pm



Indeed. It would seem that this UV sight issue came up from a very brief set of conversations that I had with the writers on Quetzalcoatlus vision. In essence, they asked me if its vision would be similar to that of birds. My response, essentially, was that we obviously have no way to determine the visual system in detail, but that it was plausible for the acuity to be similar to other large, flying, non-echolocating animals, which would be things like living storks, raptors, etc. Based on the Witton and Naish work on semiterrestrial habits, one might also speculate that the eyesight would be good enough to see prey on the ground. Beyond that, no real information - the writers, of course, decided to be a bit more imaginative and bring in a mechanism seen in living raptors.

--Mike H.


Michael Habib
Assistant Professor of Biology
Chatham University
Woodland Road, Pittsburgh PA  15232
Buhl Hall, Room 226A
mhabib@chatham.edu
(443) 280-0181



On Dec 6, 2009, at 6:59 PM, David Marjanovic wrote:

"Flying reptile Quetzalcoatlus...Howard also notes that the creatures
had tremendous eyesight, seeing in ultraviolet to following[sic] the
urine trails of its prey."

...

What?

That's what extant raptors do with rodents: urine, or at least rodent urine, absorbs UV and is therefore bright ultra-yellow. Seeing UV is plesiomorphic for at least Osteichthyes, so it's reasonable to assume that pterosaurs in general and *Q.* in particular retained this capability... but stating as a matter of fact that they used it this way... two words: Faux Noise.