Looking at a picture of the Predator drone (Fig. 1) I am reminded of the true morphology of pterosaurs: a narrow wing planform, laterally extended followed by down-angled ruddervators (the hind limbs). As we discussed earlier, in later pterosaurs the femoral head was more aligned with the shaft of the femur. Thus they were able to extend their hind limbs more laterally, ironically like the lizards they evolved from. But early on basal pterosaurs had right angle femoral heads, which did not enable the hind limbs to rise so high (Fig. 1). These early pteros had ruddervators too.
A long narrow chord (high aspect ratio) wing planform is found on gliders and solar-powered fliers, not jets. This shape permits and encourages slow flight. From Wikipedia: “Wings with higher aspect ratios, that is, wings that are longer and skinnier, have lower drag for any given amount of lift than a wing of the same area that is shorter and fatter.”
The Conventional Reconstruction
The Elgin, Hone and Frey (2011) reconstruction does not echo the Predator drone wing shape and has many other problems (listed above) — all trumped by a complete lack of any evidence in the fossil record for a deep chord wing membrane. So go with the evidence.
As always, I encourage readers to see specimens, make observations and come to your own conclusions. Test. Test. And test again.
Evidence and support in the form of nexus, pdf and jpeg files will be sent to all who request additional data.
Elgin RA, Hone DWE and Frey E 2011. The extent of the pterosaur flight membrane. Acta Palaeontologica Polonica 56 (1), 2011: 99-111. doi: 10.4202/app.2009.0145