Monday, March 23, 2009

How Pterosaurs Could Improve Robot Planes

Hop, Skip, and Away: Paleontologist Michael Habib theorizes that pterosaurs, which lived between 250 million and 65 million years ago, used their legs and wing “knuckles”—not just their hind legs, as previously believed—to leapfrog into flight. Kevin Hand

Flight School --

A new take on pterosaurs could improve robot planes

If it looks like a duck and flies like a duck, it must take off like a duck. Paleontologists long speculated that this was the case for pterosaurs, but new research shows that the prehistoric winged lizards employed a smarter launch strategy, using all four limbs to hop, skip, and jump their way into flight, instead of pushing off with two legs and flapping their wings as most birds do.

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