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Study how tracking pterosaurs mastered the original sky



According to the latest research published on Wednesday, when they were eliminated along with their dinosaur cousins, most of the winged pterosaurs had evolved from clumsy aerial flight to the lord of the primitive sky.

The pterosaur was the first spine creature to fly on its own. It appeared in the late Triassic 200 million years ago and included some of the largest animals ever.

Paleontologists are still piecing together the details of the lives of these flying reptiles-neither dinosaurs nor birds-they have flown over Tyrannosaurus, Triceratops and other dinosaurs of the late Cretaceous period.

In one of two studies on pterosaurs published in Nature, British researchers discovered that these creatures were initially clumsy flying objects.

But this study using statistical methods, biophysical models and fossil records shows that pterosaurs have spent 1

50 million years perfecting their flying skills.

Joanna Baker, a co-author of Reading University, told AFP: “Pterosaurs are really incredible animals.” He added that in the end, they are likely to be gone. “Unbelievable distance”.

She said: “As the flight efficiency of pterosaurs increases, they can soar for longer distances before they need to land.”

Scientists have discovered dozens of pterosaurs all over the planet.

They range from creatures just bigger than sparrows, to giants as tall as giraffes, and the wingspan of fighter jets.

About 65 million years ago, when a huge space rock hit the earth, they were destroyed by dinosaurs and most other life.

-Bigger is better-

Baker said that most of their increased flight efficiency is due to the expanded wingspan.

“During the millions of years of their existence, wings have become bigger and bigger-generally speaking, the bigger the wings, the better the animal’s flight!” she said.

However, even considering improvements in larger dimensions, Baker said, their flight efficiency will still increase by more than 50% over time.

Except for the giant azhdarchids of the pterosaur family.

Previous studies have shown that these large animals spend more time on the ground than other pterosaurs. The authors found that although they can fly, their performance in the air does not increase over time.

Baker said: “Our findings support the view that these creatures that dominate the sky may also fight for ownership of certain lands.”

-Pecking order-

In the second paper published in the journal Nature, researchers from the University of Leicester and the University of Birmingham analyzed the tiny scratches and pits on the fossil teeth of these flying predators to determine their diet and diet Changes over time.

This study studied 17 species of pterosaurs that lived between 208 and 94 million years ago, and compared their marks on their teeth with modern crocodiles and lizards.

The lead author of the study, Jordan Bestwick, said: “Eating crunchy foods (shells, bones, etc.) will produce a rough texture, while eating soft foods (fish and meat) will produce a smoother texture. .”.

The study found that although the earliest pterosaurs mainly consumed invertebrates, later species evolved into carnivorous and fish-eating animals.

Bestwick told AFP: “What’s really interesting is that this dietary transition has accelerated in about 150 million years, which is about the same time as the evolution of birds.”

He said more research is needed to determine whether this transition can be attributed to competition with the first bird, which he said is a “rather poor flying vehicle” about the size of a pigeon, and may focus their feed on easy catch Food, such as insects.

He said that if birds can outperform small pterosaurs, “pterosaurs that may grow up and capture larger animals (such as fish or reptiles) have a greater chance of survival.”

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