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:7/30/2014)... been awarded the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research,s ... , SCAR, an inter-disciplinary international science body, initiates, ... in the Antarctic region, and on the role ... The organisation also provides scientific advice about Antarctica ... the region. , The medal is open internationally ...
(Date:7/30/2014)... the roughly 3,000 pieces is still in its infant ... will be of major significance. "Amazingly often, we are ... Fushun amber that we found in Baltic amber," explained ... Baltic amber comes from the Baltic Sea region, which ... finds are, e.g., the coastal regions of Mecklenburg, Poland ...
(Date:7/29/2014)... BELLINGHAM, Washington, USA The advanced optical methods and ... are driving a revolution in the neurosciences were the ... published by SPIE, the international society for optics and ... of the BRAIN Initiative in the United States, and ... vision for and provide examples of the impact that ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):Chinese mosquitos on the Baltic Sea 2SPIE launches Neurophotonics journal with special section on BRAIN Initiative 2SPIE launches Neurophotonics journal with special section on BRAIN Initiative 3
(Date:7/30/2014)... (PRWEB) July 30, 2014 While ... in health services research for a relatively long ... in interest regarding the use of these ‘big ... conditions. , By combining today’s powerful computer technology ... digital era, ‘big data’ holds significant promise for ...
(Date:7/30/2014)... July 30, 2014 July 30, 2014. ... a biotechnology firm that provides DNA-based authentication and security ... Ph.D. Vice President of Life Sciences, a newly created ... , Dr. Hogan will lead APDN’s drive to build ... with biotech and healthcare customers, provide guidance to APDN’s ...
(Date:7/30/2014)... July 30, 2014  Dyadic International, Inc. ("Dyadic") ... patented and proprietary technologies are used to discover, ... for the bioenergy, bio-based chemical, biopharmaceutical and industrial ... "Tom" Dubinski as Vice President and Chief Financial ... financial and information technology operations for Dyadic and ...
(Date:7/30/2014)... NCERC at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville ... on corn stover pretreatment methods at a U.S. ... D.C. , “Arun’s selection for presentation at ... to the success of our postdoctoral fellowship program,” ... foresight and vision of SIUE and the Illinois ...
Breaking Biology Technology:Leveraging ‘Big Data’ - Methodological Considerations in Health Services Research, New Webinar Hosted by Xtalks 2Dr. Michael E. Hogan, Ph.D., Joins Applied DNA Sciences as Vice President, Life Sciences 2Dr. Michael E. Hogan, Ph.D., Joins Applied DNA Sciences as Vice President, Life Sciences 3Thomas Dubinski joins Dyadic as Chief Financial Officer 2Thomas Dubinski joins Dyadic as Chief Financial Officer 3Thomas Dubinski joins Dyadic as Chief Financial Officer 4NCERC at SIUE Researcher Takes Stage at Department of Energy Conference 2NCERC at SIUE Researcher Takes Stage at Department of Energy Conference 3
Cached News: