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Re: Quick question for pterosaur aficionados:

Some of both. Any joints that can be flexed will help fold the wing. Most of this will occur at MCIV-PhIV (outboard), but the elbow can flex, as can the wrist. For actual folding, the wing finger is most important, but it should be noted that span reduction during flight was likely accomplished more at the elbow and wrist. The initial span reduction produces extra cambering, and so (counter-intuitively) increases the lift on the span-reduced wing. Additional span reduction reduces lift as area shrinks, and then reduces it a great deal if the wing begins to flutter (this last issue prevented pterosaurs from utilizing the same degree of span reduction in flight as birds use).


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

On Mar 23, 2010, at 9:33 PM, David Peters wrote:

Wing folding:

Inboard or outboard of the elbow?

You can probably guess what I would say, but I'll weigh in after others have spoken.

David Peters
St. Louis