Document Detail


Constraints on the wing morphology of pterosaurs.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  21957137     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
Abstract/OtherAbstract:
Animals that fly must be able to do so over a huge range of aerodynamic conditions, determined by weather, wind speed and the nature of their environment. No single parameter can be used to determine-let alone measure-optimum flight performance as it relates to wing shape. Reconstructing the wings of the extinct pterosaurs has therefore proved especially problematic: these Mesozoic flying reptiles had a soft-tissue membranous flight surface that is rarely preserved in the fossil record. Here, we review basic mechanical and aerodynamic constraints that influenced the wing shape of pterosaurs, and, building on this, present a series of theoretical modelling results. These results allow us to predict the most likely wing shapes that could have been employed by these ancient reptiles, and further show that a combination of anterior sweep and a reflexed proximal wing section provides an aerodynamically balanced and efficient theoretical pterosaur wing shape, with clear benefits for their flight stability.
Authors:
Colin Palmer; Gareth Dyke
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article     Date:  2011-09-28
Journal Detail:
Title:  Proceedings. Biological sciences / The Royal Society     Volume:  279     ISSN:  1471-2954     ISO Abbreviation:  Proc. Biol. Sci.     Publication Date:  2012 Mar 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2012-02-10     Completed Date:  2012-10-02     Revised Date:  2013-06-27    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  101245157     Medline TA:  Proc Biol Sci     Country:  England    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  1218-24     Citation Subset:  IM    
Affiliation:
Department of Earth Sciences, University of Bristol, Bristol, UK. colin.palmer@bristol.ac.uk
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MeSH Terms
Descriptor/Qualifier:
Animals
Biomechanics
Fossils*
Models, Biological
Reptiles / anatomy & histology*
Wing / anatomy & histology*
Comments/Corrections

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