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Book Chapter

Inferring the properties of the pterosaur wing membrane

By
Colin Palmer
Colin Palmer
School of Earth Sciences, University of Bristol, Bristol BS8 1RJ, UK
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Published:
January 01, 2018

Abstract:

The preservation of the wing membrane of pterosaurs is very poor and the available fossil evidence does not allow its properties to be reconstructed. In contrast, the fossil record for the wing bones is relatively good and the advent of CT scanning has made it possible to build high-fidelity structural models of the wing spar. The bending strength of the wing spar of a 6 m wingspan ornithocheirid pterosaur is used to infer the likely membrane tension. The tensions required to suppress aeroelastic flutter and to minimize ballooning of the membrane under flight loads are also estimated. All three estimates are of similar magnitude and imply that the membrane must have contained high-modulus material, supporting the view that the reinforcing aktinofibrils were keratinous.

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Geological Society, London, Special Publications

New Perspectives on Pterosaur Palaeobiology

D.W. E. Hone
D.W. E. Hone
Queen Mary University of London, UK
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M. P. Witton
M. P. Witton
University of Portsmouth, UK
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D. M. Martill
D. M. Martill
University of Portsmouth, UK
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The Geological Society of London
Volume
455
ISBN electronic:
9781786203366
Publication date:
January 01, 2018

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