Friday, April 24, 2009

How big Jurassic flying reptiles got off ground.

What people think of as "flying dinosaurs" but are technically giant reptiles didn't launch into the air like birds. They leapt into the air off all four legs, said Mike Habib, of the university's Center for Functional Anatomy and Evolution. Only vampire bats do something like that.

The flying creatures are called pterosaurs (the "p" is silent). They were a group of flying reptiles that could weigh more than 500 pounds and have bus-sized wingspans. Last year, researchers tried to figure out how they got off the ground by looking at the largest bird now flying, the albatross. They concluded that anything much bigger couldn't get off the ground the same way.

But Habib said pterosaurs shouldn't be compared to birds.

More here.

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