[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index][Subject Index][Author Index]

Pterosaur wingtip anatomy, aeronautical function and ecological implications

Ben Creisler

A new online paper:

D.W.E. Hone, M.K. Van Rooijen & M.B. Habib (2015)
The wingtips of the pterosaurs: Anatomy, aeronautical function and
ecological implications.
Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology (advance online publication)


Many pterosaurs possessed curved distal wing phalanges
Curvature will affect the flight performance of the wing
High curvature is linked to flight in cluttered environments or over open oceans
Potential taphonomic distortion limits interpretation


The leading edge and shape of the pterosaur wing is constrained by the
skeleton. Although it has long been known that at least some
pterosaurs had posteriorly curved distal wing phalanges, affecting the
shape of the wingtip, this has been little studied despite that this
may have profound effects on flight performance. Here we examine the
evidence for curved wingtips in pterosaurs and evaluate the possible
aerodynamic and aeronautical effects. Curved wingtips are shown to be
common in both pterosaurs likely to have inhabited terrestrial
environments, and those which were strongly pelagic. The recently
described genus Bellubrunnus provides new anatomical novelty for
pterosaurs having anteriorly directed wingtips and thus likely had a
different flight profile to all previously known pterosaurs.