Minda Berbeco's picture

Fossil Friday, Monday Answer!

 


Photo Credit: Mike Souza via Compfight cc

 

Last week on the Fossil Friday, I posted a picture that I thought would be almost too easy. There was quite a bit of controversy at the NCSE office though. Was it an archaeopteryxHesperornis?  No, it turns out our online audience was right from the start. It was a pterosaur, and it could almost definitely fly. At least the small ones could.

From the UCMP website:

“It was once thought that pterosaurs were not well adapted for active flight and relied largely on gliding and on the wind to stay in the air. However, based on analyses of pterosaur skeletal features (including work done by Berkeley's own Kevin Padian), it is now thought that all but the largest pterosaurs could sustain powered flight. Pterosaurs had hollow bones, large brains with well-developed optic lobes, and several crests on their bones to which flight muscles attached. All of this is consistent with powered flapping flight.”

The BBC has some great videos on pterosaurs here.