Prehistoric 'Runway' Used by Flying Reptile

Discussion in 'OFF-Topic / Misc.' started by beaupower32, Aug 19, 2009.

  1. beaupower32

    beaupower32 Well-Known Member

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    A prehistoric runway for flying pterosaurs has been discovered for the first time.

    Scientists uncovered the first known landing tracks of one of these extinct flying reptiles at a site dubbed "Pterosaur Beach," in the fine-grained limestone deposits of an ancient lagoon in southwestern France dating back some 140 million years ago to the Late Jurassic.


    The footprints suggest the pterosaur - a "pterodactyloid" with a wingspan roughly three feet wide (one meter) - flapped to stall its flight during landing, and then planted both its two-inch-long feet (five cm) simultaneously at a high angle.


    The reptile next dragged its toes briefly, took a short "stutter step" - perhaps a hop with both feet - and landed, settling its hands. It finally adjusted its posture and ambled off normally on all fours.


    "No other trackways ascribed to pterosaurs in the world have shown either landings or takeoffs," said researcher Kevin Padian, a paleontologist at the University of California at Berkeley.


    Pterosaurs, like birds, "were very light animals, and didn't tend to leave as many tracks when compared to, say, a 50-ton sauropod," the largest dinosaurs to ever stride the earth, explained paleontologist David Hone at the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology of China in Beijing, who did not participate in this study.


    "If tracks from pterosaurs are going to get preserved, it's likely to be in the softest muds or finest sands, and it's unlikely even then, so to get traces of a pterosaur landing like this is very exciting," Hone noted. He added the case the researchers make for the way the pterosaurs landed "is very strong and convincing."


    The fact this pterosaur had the capability to stall during flight implies sophisticated flapping control of the wings, Padian said. Future research will hopefully uncover tracks made during takeoff, shedding further light on how these extinct creatures once flew.


    "There are hundreds of trackways in this big quarry," Padian said.




    Very intresting, what do you think?
     
  2. vikingBerserker

    vikingBerserker Well-Known Member

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  3. GrauGeist

    GrauGeist Well-Known Member

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    I think that's extremely cool!

    I find it fascinating that there's been so many discoveries in the past couple decades like this.

    Wish all this cool dinosaur discovery stuff was around when I was a kid!
     
  4. Njaco

    Njaco The Pop-Tart Whisperer
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    ummm, they actually were. If you think about it. :)
     
  5. GrauGeist

    GrauGeist Well-Known Member

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    Well, not really...

    We had the Brontosaurus, the T-Rex, Pteradactyle, Triceratops, Dimetrodon, etc...

    All pretty much standard dinosaur fare (most books had the same info between the 20's/30's and the 60's) until the late 70's and early 80's when the new discoveries came rolling in and changed the dinosaur heirarchy and how they lived and died.
     
  6. beaupower32

    beaupower32 Well-Known Member

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    Could you imagine ATC communication for that. It might go something like this.

    Prehistoric Tower, pterosaur324 is requesting permission to land.

    Pterosaur324, Prehistoric Tower Cleared to land Runway 22L winds WSW at 8.

    Cleared to land Runway 22L, Pterosaur324

    Pterosaur324, Turn next taxiway when able.

    Pterosaur324 contact ground on 3 squeals and a scream, Good Day

    3 squeals and a scream for Pterosaur324.

    Prehistoric ground, Pterosaur324 taxi to nest.

    Pterosaur324 taxi to nest 11B via rock and stream.

    Taxi to nest 11B via rock and stream, Pterosaur 324.
     
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