Wednesday, May 28, 2008

More on the Darren-Mark Pterosaur Paper

Darren and Mark are the authors of the paper that I linked to yesterday. Darren has commented on his Science Blogs blog about the paper. So has Mark commented on his Flickr site. Together they wrote up a blog for the paper. I'm a bit ambivalent about this since it'll effective be a dead blog unless they are going to do more work in the future. I don't like dead/archive blogs. They, perhaps, ought to have put this all in wikipedia or somewhere else as an article (or set of articles).

I do have to wonder though: how could a big strutter like the azhdarchids would survive in the Late Cretaceous with the theropods running around. I think they need to do some functional movement work to demonstrate the grounded uber pterosaurs aren't going to be a snack. Can they transition to flight fast enough? Are they quick on the ground? I am not raining on their model, but suggesting some checks for it.


Zach said...

That's a good question, although Darren & Mark seem to think that azhdzarchids were fleet of foot on the ground, and they had a quick jumping takeoff. If they saw trouble, I'm betting it didn't take the beasties long to fly the heck away.

Will Baird said...


The lifestyle they postulate has the bigguns looking DOWN all the time. That limits them being able to watch a whole lot. How are the ears? Are they good enough to hear a stalking set of manitraptors? or moderate sized theropods?

Or would there have to have been multiple critters to help watch? A flock? or whatever you call a pterosaur grouping.

Furthermore, the light of foot thing again, they had better be FAST because unlike a stork, these guys would have cast a huge shadow.

Anonymous said...

It would be hard to sneak up on a creature whose eyes are 5m+ above the ground, and can get airborne in 600 milliseconds.

A question of greater moment: what *do* we call a bunch of them? If we trust Mark and Darren, we have a "procession of azhdarchids". If we emphasize their ninja-nature, we have a "dojo" or perhaps a "blitzkrieg".