The Extent of the Pterosaur Flight Membrane

  title={The Extent of the Pterosaur Flight Membrane},
  author={Ross A. Elgin and David W. E. Hone and Eberhard Frey},
The shape and extent of the membranous brachioptagium in pterosaurs remains a controversial topic for those attempting to determine the aerodynamic performance of the first vertebrate fliers. Various arguments in favour of the trailing edge terminating against either the torso or hip, the femur, the ankle, or different locations for various taxa, has resulted in several published reconstructions. Uncertainty over the correct model is detrimental to both aerodynamic and palaeoecological studies… 
Inferring the properties of the pterosaur wing membrane
Abstract The preservation of the wing membrane of pterosaurs is very poor and the available fossil evidence does not allow its properties to be reconstructed. In contrast, the fossil record for the
The wingtips of the pterosaurs: Anatomy, aeronautical function and ecological implications
Challenges and advances in the study of pterosaur flight1
In recent years, three areas of pterosaur biology have faced challenges and made advances: structure of the wing membrane, function of the pteroid, body size and mass estimates, as well as flight mechanics and aerodynamics.
Functional morphology of Quetzalcoatlus Lawson 1975 (Pterodactyloidea: Azhdarchoidea)
The proportions and possible motions of the skeleton of the giant azhdarchid pterosaur Quetzalcoatlus are reconstructed, finding that despite the animal’s great size, the hind limb to torso length ratio is the greatest for all known pterosaurs.
Constraints on the wing morphology of pterosaurs
  • C. PalmerG. Dyke
  • Environmental Science
    Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
  • 2011
Basic mechanical and aerodynamic constraints that influenced the wing shape of pterosaurs are reviewed, and a series of theoretical modelling results are presented that show that a combination of anterior sweep and a reflexed proximal wing section provides an aerodynamically balanced and efficient theoretical pterosaur wing shape.
Palaeobiology, Morphology, and Flight Characteristics of Pterodactyloid Pterosaurs
The “crocodilian-like” sequence of suture closure between the neural arches and vertebral bodies of the thoracic vertebrae is confirmed within the azhdarchoid pterosaurs, indicating that the developmental timing between the Azhdarchoidea and Ornithocheiroidea did not significantly differ.
The Flight Dynamics of Tapejara, a Pterosaur From the Early Cretaceous of Brazil with a Large Cranial Crest
Tapejara wellnhoferi, a small azhdarchoid pterodactyloid from the Early Cretaceous Santana Formation of Brazil, provides critical information about the aerodynamic function of its spectacular head
Were early pterosaurs inept terrestrial locomotors?
It is argued that characteristics possibly associated with terrestriality are deeply nested within Pterosauria and not restricted to Pterodactyloidea as previously thought, and that pterodACTyloid-like levels of terrestrial competency may have been possible in at least some early pterosaurs.
Pterosaur integumentary structures with complex feather-like branching
Preservation in two anurognathid pterosaur specimens of morphologically diverse pycnofibres show diagnostic features of feathers, hitherto considered unique to maniraptoran dinosaurs, and preserved melanosomes with diverse geometries, which could imply that feathers had deep evolutionary origins in ancestral archosaurs.
On the Size and Flight Diversity of Giant Pterosaurs, the Use of Birds as Pterosaur Analogues and Comments on Pterosaur Flightlessness
Reappraisal of the proportions, scaling and morphology of giant pterosaur fossils suggests that bird and pterOSaur wing structure, gross anatomy and launch kinematics are too different to be considered mechanically interchangeable, and conclusions indicating that giants pterosaurs were flightless are found to be based on inaccurate and poorly supported assumptions.


Biomechanics of the unique pterosaur pteroid
  • C. PalmerG. Dyke
  • Biology
    Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
  • 2009
It is demonstrated quantitatively that the more traditional reconstruction of a medially orientated pteroid was much more stable both structurally and aerodynamically, reflecting likely life position.
High lift function of the pteroid bone and forewing of pterosaurs
The pteroid bone is a rod-like element found only in pterosaurs, the flying reptiles of the Mesozoic. It articulated at the wrist, and supported a membranous forewing in front of the inner part of
Sordes pilosus and the nature of the pterosaur flight apparatus
IT is now generally accepted that pterosaurs, Mesozoic reptiles, were true fliers, but the nature of their flight apparatus is still much disputed. Evidence has been presented in favour of bird-like
Three‐dimensional geometry of a pterosaur wing skeleton, and its implications for aerial and terrestrial locomotion
The joint analysis is consistent with a semi-erect quadrupedal model of terrestrial locomotion in the ornithocheirids and lends support to the idea that the pteroid – a long, slender wrist bone unique to pterosaurs that supported a membranous forewing – was directed forwards in flight, not towards the body.
Terrestrial locomotion in pterosaurs
It is suggested that in pterosaurs the wing membrane was attached to the upper leg, which helped in stretching, steering and cambering.
A New Model for the Evolution of the Pterosaur Wing--with a twist
The observation that many aspects of pterosaur non-wing anatomy were present in their non-volant, prolacertiform sister taxa meant that successful powered flight would have been possible only after a critical wing size had been achieved.
Pterosaur flight: The role of actinofibrils in wing function
The wings of pterosaurs consisted of a narrow wing membrane or patagium primarily supported and controlled by the hyperelongate forelimb, but also attaching to the side of the body and the hindlimb.
A functional analysis of flying and walking in pterosaurs
Pterosaurs bear close structural resemblances to birds and dinosaurs, to which they are most closely related phylogenetically, and a hypothesis of structural, aerodynamic, and evolutionary differences distinguishing vertebrate gliders from fliers is proposed.
Foot posture in a primitive pterosaur
A large, uncrushed, partial skeleton of a new species of the basal pterosaur Dimorphodon in thick-bedded deposits of Tamaulipas, Mexico is found, which contradicts an important part of the cursorial interpretation that only the toes contacted the ground during terrestrial locomotion.
Flight characteristics of Triassic and Jurassic Pterosauria: an appraisal based on wing shape
The reconstructed pterosaurs show a limited range of wing shape compared to birds; this may partly reflect preservational bias favoring species living in marine or lagoonal environments, but this is not a complete explanation because there is a lack of pterosaur with wings of high loading like the marine ducks and auks.