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Old May 4 2012, 03:54 PM   #1
skywaterblue
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Default Could you fly a pterosaur?

I have several times on this forum compared the dragons of Pern to the large pterosaur family Azhdarchid. Interestingly, it turns out that the working group at pterosaur.net (real live paleontologists!) have taken up the question themselves and concluded that biomechanically, pterosaurs could launch with a person aboard.

Some interesting conclusions for our riders result:

http://pterosaur-net.blogspot.com/20...rs-part-1.html

As I've said elsewhere, the more we learn about the Azhdarchid family, the less implausible the biology of the dragons seems.
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Old May 4 2012, 04:24 PM   #2
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Default Re: Could you fly a pterosaur?

The less implausible the possibility of a flying creature that humans can ride, maybe, but one of the important points in that blog post is the fact that pterosaurs themselves have very little body mass for their size. Dragons, alas, are very substantial in all ways, and the weight of a human rider is near inconsequential in comparison. The sheer mass that has to be moved is the real problem in determining whether they are flight-worthy without telekinetic lift.

Nifty site, though. Thank you for sharing.
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Old May 4 2012, 06:52 PM   #3
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Default Re: Could you fly a pterosaur?

We don't know that they are, actually. We never see one step on a scale.
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Old May 4 2012, 07:23 PM   #4
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Default Re: Could you fly a pterosaur?

How about a skybax?

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Old May 5 2012, 01:17 AM   #5
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Default Re: Could you fly a pterosaur?

Quote:
Originally Posted by skywaterblue View Post
We don't know that they are, actually. We never see one step on a scale.
Bone density tells you one thing. Attachment points tell you about the musculature. Everything else is fine tuning. I'm pretty sure that scientists good make a guess good to 50%
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Old May 5 2012, 11:00 AM   #6
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Default Re: Could you fly a pterosaur?

No one's ever done a bone density test where boron replaces calcium.
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Old May 5 2012, 11:19 AM   #7
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Default Re: Could you fly a pterosaur?

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No one's ever done a bone density test where boron replaces calcium.
You don't need to. Chemistry already has that answer. Take 16% of the calcium mass as a minimum comparable level, and contrast with the human total-body-calcium mass of 1-3.5%. I don't think the element-replacement is going to make a dragon significantly more flightworthy than any Earth-historical equivalent - an 80% drop in bone mass doesn't matter that much if the bones only account for a small fraction of the total mass of the beast - 8% is the MAXIMUM bone mass percentage for the heaviest birds, for comparison.
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Old May 6 2012, 04:57 AM   #8
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Default Re: Could you fly a pterosaur?

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How about a skybax?

If I recall correctly, the skybax is based or suppoesd to be a quetzacoatlus. Something else, it seems that James Gurney got right! First ovinutrix vs oviraptor, and now that a Quetzacoatlus could fly with a human rider.

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