Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Dinosaur the size of a giraffe could fly large distances and even cross continents

A dinosaur the size of a giraffe was able of launching itself into the air and flying for thousands of miles, scientists have discovered.

Dr Mark Witton, a palaeontologist from the University of Portsmouth and Dr Michael Habib from Chatham University USA, has studied how the giant pterosaur, which was as big as a giraffe, could get off the ground.


They said they had disproved claims that enormous prehistoric winged beasts could not fly, with new evidence showing how they handle to get themselves airborne.

They found that the reptiles took off by using the powerful muscles of their legs and arms to push off from the ground, efficiently pole-vaulting over their wings.

Once airborne they could fly large distances and even cross continents, the scientists claim.

According to Dr Witton : ''Most birds take off either by running to pick up speed and jumping into the air before flapping wildly, or if they're small enough, they may merely launch themselves into the air from a standstill.

Previous theories suggested that giant pterosaurs were too large and heavy to perform either of these manoeuvres and therefore they would have remained on the ground.

But when investigative pterosaurs the bird analogy can be stretched too far.

These creatures were not birds they were flying reptiles with a definitely different skeletal structure, wing proportions and muscle mass.

They would have attained flight in a completely different way to birds and would have had a lower angle of take off and initial flight trajectory. The structure of these creatures is unique.

1 comment:

  1. Note they are called pterosaurs, not 'flying dinosaurs'.