Lee Speigel - Pterosaurs -- those giant, fearsome flying creatures that lived eons ago -- could fly almost 10,000 miles at a clip, according to recent research.
Moviegoers have long been thrilled by pterosaurs -- from the Greek word, pterosauros, or "winged lizard" -- going all the way back to the original 1933 "King Kong" to 1966's "One Million Years B.C.," and in more recent dinosaur film fare such as 2001's "Jurassic Park III."
These prehistoric winged reptiles may have used warm air updrafts and wind currents to achieve their frequent-flier status, National Geographic reports.Whether you learned in school to call them pterodactyls or pteranodons, pterosaur fossils have been found all around the world and lived from 65 million to 200 million years ago.
They ranged in size from some with an average wingspan of 6 feet to the giant giraffe-sized Quetzalcoatlus of Texas that could reach up to a 30-foot wingspan.
At the recent annual meeting of the Society for Vertebrate Paleontology in Pittsburgh, paleontologist Michael Habib offered new findings about these remarkable flying animals based on new models of their wingspans, shape and body mass.
"They probably only flapped for a few minutes at a time ... and then their muscles had to recover," Habib said.
The giant Quetzalcoatlus pterosaur was so big, Habib added, "They are truly gruesomely huge by bird and bat standards." ...
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