Newborn pterosaurs may have been able to fly

A new study suggests that newborn pterosaurs may have been able to fly, although their flying abilities were different from adults.

Pterosaurs were a group of flying reptiles that lived during the Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous periods, between 228 and 66 million years ago. Due to the rarity of fossilized pterosaur eggs and embryos, and difficulties in distinguishing between newborns and small adults, it was unclear whether newborn pterosaurs could fly.

However, a new study by researchers at the Universities of Portsmouth and Bristol, along with paleontologist Darren Naish, found that the humerus bones of newborn pterosaurs were stronger than those of many adult pterosaurs, indicating that they would have been strong enough to fly.

The researchers modeled the flight abilities of newborn pterosaurs using wing measurements previously obtained from four pterosaur embryos and fossils from two different species. Pterodaustro guinazui It is Sinopterus dongi. They also compared these wing measurements with those of adults of the same species, and compared the humerus bone strength of three newborns with that of 22 adult pterosaurs.

With a 10-inch wingspan and bodies that fit perfectly in your hand, researchers found that these tiny animals were very strong and capable fliers. Its bones were strong enough to support wing flapping and takeoff, and its wings were ideally shaped for powered flight (as opposed to gliding). However, they would not have flown exactly like their parents simply because they were much smaller: flight capabilities are heavily influenced by size and mass, so newborn pterosaurs, being hundreds of times smaller than their parents, were likely slower fliers. and more agile. than far-reaching but less maneuverable adults.

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