Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

11/12/2012 (1 year ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Areas where the pterosaur lived lacked cliffs to take to the skies

The giant flying pterosaur called Quetzalcoatlus was by far the largest earthly inhabitant to ever take to the skies and fly. Approximately the size of an F-16 jet, its wingspan was 34 feet wide. Questions arise, however - how was the prehistoric bird, which clouded the skies 67 million years ago, take to the air? None of the expected cliffs enabling the pterosaur to embark were ever found in the areas where its remains were found. Now, scientists may have the answer -

Landing presented a problem for the pterosaur. According to scientists, it involved a lot of flapping, followed by a touchdown with the hind legs, leading to a four-legged run.

Landing presented a problem for the pterosaur. According to scientists, it involved a lot of flapping, followed by a touchdown with the hind legs, leading to a four-legged run.

Article Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

11/12/2012 (1 year ago)

Published in Green

Keywords: Pterosaur, flight, dinosaur, runways, paleontology


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - According to a new computer simulation, the pterosaur used downward-sloping areas at the edges of lakes and river valleys, as "prehistoric runways." The monstrous birds then gathered enough speed and power to take off.

The study was presented last week at the annual meeting of the Geological Society of America. According to Texas Tech University scientist Sankar Chatterjee, a co-author of the study, the animal would start running on all fours, then would shift to its back legs, unfurl its wings and begin flapping.

Once the pterosaur generated enough power and speed, it finally would hop and take to the air, Chatterjee says. Chatterjee, along with his colleagues created a video simulation of a pterosaur taking flight.

"This would be very awkward-looking," he said. "They'd have to run but also need a down slope, a technique used today by hang gliders. Once in the air, though, they were magnificent gliders."

His past research also revealed the likely flight trick of another hefty prehistoric aviator, Argentavis magnificens, which relied on updrafts to help lift it into the air.

Chatterjee said the flight and landing of Quetzalcoatlus probably looked like that of an albatross or the Kori bustard, the heaviest modern-day bird capable of flight.

The pterosaur likely weighed about 155 pounds, which is near the maximum that an animal could weigh and still fly, he said.

Landing presented a problem for this dinosaur. According to scientists, it involved a lot of flapping, followed by a touchdown with the hind legs, leading to a four-legged run.

From the paleontological evidence found, Quetzalcoatlus had very light, air-filled bones, which were strong for their weight, but its wings were fairly fragile. "It was a marvel of engineering," he said.

These pterosaurs likely fed on fish or scavenged dead animals, like modern-day buzzards. When standing, they were about as tall as modern-day giraffes. They were named after Quetzalcoatl, the Mesoamerican feathered serpent god.


---


Pope Francis calls for your 'Prayer and Action'


© 2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for March 2014
Respect for Women:
That all cultures may respect the rights and dignity of women.
Vocations: That many young people may accept the Lordís invitation to consecrate their lives to proclaiming the Gospel.



Comments


More Green

BIOLOGICAL WARFARE? Smog from India, China winds way to U.S., Canada Watch

Image of The smog in Asia, it must be noted is caused by more than just the burning of fossil fuels - it's comprised of nitrogen oxides, methane and other volatile organic compounds that combine to produce ozone.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Ripples in the global pond, half a world away, can have effects all over the globe. Researchers at Texas A&M now say that air pollution originating in both India and China, almost certainly affects global weather patterns, particularly in the United States and ... continue reading


MONSTER El Nino forming in South Pacific, will being devastating weather around the globe in 2014-2015 Watch

Image of We may see a sharp increase in severe weather events for 2014-2015.

By Marshall Connolly, Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

According to scientists, a massive El Nino is forming in the Pacific and it may be the largest such El Nino ever recorded. If true then the entire planet may experience an uptick in extreme weather events with serious consequences for life and property around the ... continue reading


World must turn to wind and solar to combat global warming, report says Watch

Image of Scientists are optimistic that if renewable energy is quickly rolled out, homes are built in a more sustainable and energy efficient way, and human consumption and wastefulness is changed, climate change can be controlled.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The world must turn to the wind or sun for its energy needs -- or face catastrophic consequences wrought by climate change. That's the news from a recent report from the United Nations on global warming. These devastating effects could take place as early as 15 ... continue reading


Former Indonesian tropical paradise reduced to garbage dump Watch

Image of The water at times turns red, green, yellow and black because of the high concentration of dyes.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

As people in China's most air polluted cities cheerfully don face masks, a fisherman on Indonesia's Citarum River has blankly accepted his polluted fate. Once searching for fish, Herman, the name of the fisherman proffered to news reporters says he now looks ... continue reading


THIRD Oarfish sighting in Sea of Cortez stokes earthquake fears Watch

Image of A tour guide lies beside a beached oarfish specimen on the Isla San Francisco in Mexico.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

An oarfish has been found washed on an island beach in Mexico, leading to speculation if it is one of the two previously sighted and filmed last month, or if it is in fact a third specimen. If it is a third, it could fuel rumors of an earthquake since anecdotal ... continue reading


Japanese island consumes another in unusual volcanic activity Watch

Image of Two volcanic craters are shown on Niijima on November 22. The island emerged about 1,000 kilometers (600 miles) south of Tokyo in the Ogasawara Islands, also known as the Bonin Islands.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

In a spate of highly unusual volcanic activity, one Japanese island has merged with another nearby island. Niijima Island, a volcano which broke through the ocean's surface last November, has now merged with a nearby island that formed from a volcano which last ... continue reading


Are these oarfish in Mexico predicting an earthquake? Tourists film TWO live oarfish trying to beach themselves Watch

Image of Oarfish are legendary harbingers of earthquakes.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

An amazing new video shows two oarfish swimming just offshore in Mexico to the delight of ecotourists on a kayaking tour. The video, taken last March, shows the pair of fish possibly about to beach themselves. Oarfish are rarely sighted and legend associates their ... continue reading


MASS EXTINCTION: All life on Earth went extinct 252 million years ago Watch

Image of The Permian-Triassic extinction has been defined as a natural event that heated up the Earth's biological systems.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Nearly all life on Earth became extinct 252 million years ago. According to Massachusetts Institute of Technology, or MIT scientists, the culprit was not an asteroid striking the planet, but a methane-spewing microbe. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Daniel ... continue reading


Bison, elk appear to be fleeing Yellowstone. Is supervolcano eruption eminent? Watch

Image of A supervolcano under Yellowstone could cause mass extinctions if it erupted.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Talk of a supervolcano eruption in Yellowstone National Park has hit the blogosphere after several people have posted videos of animals fleeing the sanctuary. A supervolcano eruption would destroy everything for hundreds of miles around and would plunge the planet into ... continue reading


Global warming is inevitable: It's time for a new ecology. Watch

Image of

By Marshall Connolly, Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The latest revelation from climate scientists is that they now believe global climate change as a result of human activities is now inevitable and irreversible. Furthermore, it will affect everybody in the years to come-if it hasn't already. It is nigh time for a new ... continue reading


All Green News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Isaiah 61:1-3, 6, 8-9
1 The spirit of Lord Yahweh is on me for Yahweh has ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 89:21-22, 25, 27
21 My hand will always be with him, my arm will make ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 4:16-21
16 He came to Nazara, where he had been brought up, ... Read More

Reading 2, Revelation 1:5-8
5 and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for April 17th, 2014 Image

St. Anicetus
April 17: Anicetus was a Syrian from Emesa. He became pope about 155 and ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter