Record Long-distance Dinosaur Flights?

PITTSBURGH, Oct. 12 (UPI) — Ancient flying dinosaurs may have been able to fly for 10,000 miles non-stop on wings stretching up to 30 feet, a U.S. scientist says.

The fliers belonged to four species some researchers call supergiant pterosaurs, flying reptiles such as Quetzalcoatlus northropi from Texas, reported.

First appearing 70 million years ago, they were about as tall as a modern giraffe and flew on membrane wings.

These supergiants were “big by pterosaur standards,” biomechanist Michael Habib of Chatham University in Pittsburgh said. “They are truly gruesomely huge by bird and bat standards.”

If scientists are correctly estimating their body masses and wing dimensions based on fossils, and if they could catch thermals and glide as birds do, “it would make them the longest single-trip-distance fliers in the Earth’s history,” Habib said.

Other researchers such as David Unwin, a pterosaur researcher at the University of Leicester in England, aren’t so sure but he said “we didn’t fall on the floor laughing” upon hearing of the idea.

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI’s prior written consent.

Categorized | Birds, History, Other, Reptiles
Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.