Monday, November 15, 2010

Pterosaur reptile used "pole vault" trick for take-off

PteranodonA new study claims that the ancient winged reptiles known as pterosaurs used a "pole-vaulting" action to take to the air.

They say the creatures took off using all four of their limbs.

The reptiles vaulted over their wings, pushing off first with their hind limbs and then thrusting themselves upwards with their powerful arm muscles - not dissimilar to some modern bats.

The research is published in the open-access journal Plos One.

Pterosaurs lived at the same time as the dinosaurs, but belonged to a different group of reptiles. They existed from the Triassic Period until the end of the Cretaceous - about 220 million years ago to 65 million years ago.

In their study, Dr Mark Witton at Portsmouth University, UK, and Dr Michael Habib of Chatham University, Pennsylvania, US, reappraised giant pterosaur fossils.

Their findings challenge other claims that the giant pterosaurs - such as Pteranodon and the largest azhdarchids - were not capable of flying.

via BBC News - Pterosaur reptile used "pole vault" trick for take-off.

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