Skip to comments.Fossils show flying reptiles were 'size of a small aeroplane'
Posted on 09/08/2005 7:26:09 PM PDT by aculeus
Giant flying reptiles that soared through the skies in the dinosaur era may have been almost twice as big as previously thought.
Recent discoveries suggest that pterosaurs, the best known of which is the pterodactyl, could have had a wingspan of up to 59ft.
Based on previous fossil finds, paleontologists had estimated the largest pterosaur wingspans to be around 33ft, making it the largest ever animal to fly.
However, bone fragments unearthed in Israel and footprints found in Mexico suggest the largest specimens were substantially larger.
Dr David Martill, from the University of Portsmouth, told the conference: "These were very, very big animals indeed. They were the size of a small aeroplane. Even though they are fragments, they are bloody big fragments.
"Exceptional tissue preservation shows that these animals had a very sophisticated structure."
Footprints discovered in Mexico last year by Professor Dino Frey, of the Natural History Museum in Karlsruhe, Germany, and pterosaur wing finger bones, almost five inches wide, as well as parts of a shoulder girdle have led paleontologists to re-estimate the reptile's wingspan.
The previous largest specimen was the Quetzalcoatlus, discovered by Douglas Lawson in the Big Bend National Park, Texas, in the 1970s.
Pterosaurs lived in the Triassic period with the oldest examples dating back to around 220 million years ago.
Experts are still unsure about the ancestry of pterosaurs. They are currently classified as belonging to a group of reptiles known as archosaurs, which include crocodiles, dinosaurs and birds.
They could fold their joints close to the body at the shoulder and walked a little like bats.
They were previously thought of as gliding animals, but it is now clear they had the ability to flap their wings.
Illustration of a pterosaur
The pterosaur's wingspan was 59ft
And how long ago was that? Creationists?
There HAD to be a different gravitational environment when gigantism was rampant. I do not believe that bones muscles and tendons in our current gravity could support animals this big.
Sounds like a "flyingnightmareosaurous"
There HAD to be a different gravitational environment when gigantism was rampant. I do not believe that bones muscles and tendons in our current gravity could support animals this big.How about an 'atmospheric density' change (e.g., 30% or twice the density that we have now)?
Could you imagine of one of those took a crap on your car.
It was less menacing than you might think. Gnathosaurs (the variety of pterosaur featured in the picture) were krill and plankton eaters who used their toothy jaws to filter their food from the water, the same way whales use baleen.
This reminds me of one of those curious pieces of info. As a youngster and even through today, I have always been interested in dinosaurs, forteana, mysteries, sasquach, lock ness monster, ufos, etc.
Well, there is a consensus among people who are fans of that type of stuff that there is a photograph, dating at about 1900 give or take a couple of decades. The photo memorializes a story of several cowboys out west (I think the story is Texas) who engaged a flying dinosaur, something like a Pteranodon. They shot it down with their guns and rifles, and killed it.
Anyway, there are many accounts of people seeing the photograph of the cowboys posing in front of a barn with the Pteranodon tacked up, wingspan stretched out. Most are convinced the picture is in some old books, newspapers, or newsletters of odd phenomena and mysteries, yet this photo has never surfaced.
I am very convinced I have seen this photo, and many people have the memory of it, but nobody can find it.
There have been a few theories. One, it's a powerful image that people could have read about (but not seen) and created a very vivid visualization of in their minds in their youth. So the picture doesn't actually exist but many people have basically hypnotized themselves into thinking they have seen it. Wild!
Another theory is that the picture does exist but all records of it in books, libraries, etc have been snarfed by some powerful organization who wants to keep it a secret. This campaign would have to have happened sometime in the 1970s or early 1980s.
Another theory that's really wild is that the picture is an anomaly and that while it was once part of our 'timeline' - that is, the event did happena nd a photo was taken and published in books, etc, but it's evidence of some kind of temporal mishap, and that timecops from the future went back in time and either stopped the event from happening, stopped the picture from being taken, or confistacted all photos/negatives early in its history such that it was 'erased' from our timeline, yet the mind being the amazing thing that it is, those who saw the photograph later in history (say the 1970s) 'remember' it, and when the timecops went back in time and averted the photo being taken, the picture and accounts 'vanished' from future accounts of the story. So the memory of the photo remains, yet the evidence has been erased as the impact of their timecop work rippled through time.
Still another theory suggests that the book in question and the picture is still out there, and while many 1000s of people have seen it, the book/picture/page with the picture is lost for now and may yet resurface.
For the record, I beleive I have seen the picture but can't produce it, like 1000s of others. Anybody have any memories?
One professor would agree:
I have seen that pic but have no clue as to where to search for it.
If it's out there, it will turn up on eBay sooner or later.
some odd stuff in this thread
another possibility: the photo is a hoax, one of many hoaxes perpetrated by snake-oil salesmen and other such conmen in the late 19th and early 20th centuries - remember the Gypsum Giant?
No kidding - that's what we all say. Fortean Times was on the case in the late 1990s but the newsstand in nyc where I would pick it up from time to time stopped getting it.
I am convinced I have seen the photo also. Watch the skies!
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