HOME >> BIOLOGY >> NEWS
Did pterosaurs feed by skimming?

In order to envisage the behaviors and lifestyles of now extinct animals, palaeontology often relies on extrapolating from modern species. Scientists identify shared anatomical features and infer from these shared ways of life. This method is often used to predict the diet of an extinct species based on comparisons of fossilized teeth, or used to conclude that species with large eyes were nocturnal. However, a new paper from Stuart Humphries, Richard Bonser, and colleagues, published in the open access journal PLoS Biology, provides a cautionary tale. Previous work on pterosaurs concluded that some species fed by skimming along the surface of the water with their mouths held open, but this paper overturns that inference, showing that this kind of feeding was highly unlikely to have occurred in pterosaurs after all.

Humphries, and colleagues from the Universities of Portsmouth, Reading, and Sheffield in the UK, investigated the feeding mechanisms of the pterosaurs using a variety of neat experimental and aerodynamic modelling techniques. They compared the forces acting on the modern skim-feeding bird, genus Rynchops, with those likely to occur on a pterosaur. Big was beautiful for the pterosaur, with evolutionary trends towards giant sizes. However, Humphries et al. show that the size of these colossal animals would have prevented them from feeding as previously described, as the drag experienced by a pterosaur over a ton would have imposed too great an energetic cost. The authors also reveal that the smaller, lighter pterosaurs that may have been able to overcome this drag barrier make equally unlikely skim feeders, as they lack the many adaptations of the neck and skull shown in modern skimming birds. The paper overturns the untested assum ption that drag is an unimportant cost of flight, offering, in turn, an explanation for the relative rarity of the skim-feeding strategy; found only in three modern birds, all of the same genus, Rhynchops.

'"/>

Contact: Natalie Bouaravong
press@plos.org
415-568-3445
Public Library of Science
23-Jul-2007


Page: 1 2

Related biology news :

1. Neurons grown from embryonic stem cells restore function in paralyzed rats
2. Neurons find their place in the developing nervous system with the help of a sticky molecule
3. New slant on vision research: Neurons sensitive to viewing angle
4. UCLA scientists produce functioning neurons from human embryonic stem cells
5. Stem cell therapy rescues motor neurons in ALS model
6. Nicotine rush hinges on sugar in neurons
7. Turn-ons and turn-offs for neurons
8. Immune antibodies penetrate neurons to clear Alzheimers-linked amyloid
9. Parkinsons protein protects neurons from stress induced cell death
10. Newborn neurons like to hang with the in crowd
11. Role of noise in neurons

Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
TAG: Did pterosaurs feed skimming

(Date:10/16/2014)... tract infections and worldwide claims the lives of ... Ghent University have succeeded in developing a promising ... , Xavier Saelens (VIB/UGent): "We discovered a ... the development of a novel approach to vaccination ... numerous small children and elderly people." , ...
(Date:10/15/2014)... ,Models of Life, is a non-traditional biophysics textbook and ... book is a journey of discovery into biological systems ... and biological regulation. It is about how our genes ... between the billions of cells in an organism. It ... between principles, which can be found on both large ...
(Date:10/15/2014)... will be awarded the 44th Rosenstiel Award for Distinguished ... pioneering research exploring the mechanisms of genomic instability and ... Alt is the second alumnus to win the Rosenstiel ... in 2003. , Alt is the Charles A. Janeway ... Medical School and an investigator at the Howard Hughes ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):New perspectives for development of an RSV vaccine 2New book about life as seen from physics 2Brandeis awards 44th Rosenstiel Award to pioneering geneticist Fred Alt 2
(Date:10/22/2014)... (PRWEB) October 22, 2014 Grace Century, ... and healthcare projects, announces the addition of Dr. ... to its advisory team. Dr. Siddiqui will provide further ... , A graduate of University College Medical School ... degreed in medicine in 2001. With further certification as ...
(Date:10/22/2014)... 22, 2014 Nuvilex, Inc. (OTCQB: NVLX) – ... people worldwide are living with diabetes, with  that number ... The global market for diabetes treatments is approximately $500 ... worldwide died from pancreatic cancer.  Pancreatic cancer is the ... in the United States , and ...
(Date:10/20/2014)... 2014 Convey Computer , the ... from Iowa State University won first place in the ... Convey HC-2ex, the team’s solution achieved the highest overall ... the second place finisher. , Experts from all segments ... month long challenge, using a variety of design tools, ...
(Date:10/20/2014)... -- PureTech , a science and technology ... announced today the closing of a $55 million ... Perpetual, a $120 Billion group of funds. The ... pipeline forward and to advance new healthcare related ... to really go for the big ideas that ...
Breaking Biology Technology:Dr. Yousef Siddiqui joins the Grace Century Advisory Team 2Nuvilex Brief Analyst Report: Thinking Outside the Box by BrokerBank Securities, Inc. 2Team from Iowa State Wins 2014 MemoCODE Design Contest Using Convey HC-2ex 2Team from Iowa State Wins 2014 MemoCODE Design Contest Using Convey HC-2ex 3PureTech Announces Expansion with Oversubscribed $55M Funding Round 2PureTech Announces Expansion with Oversubscribed $55M Funding Round 3PureTech Announces Expansion with Oversubscribed $55M Funding Round 4PureTech Announces Expansion with Oversubscribed $55M Funding Round 5PureTech Announces Expansion with Oversubscribed $55M Funding Round 6
Cached News: