Pteranodon quad hopping water takeoff, according to the AMNH

Hopefully this is going to be the last time
the American Museum of Natural History embarrasses itself with bogus pterosaur tricks. We looked at problems from the original 2014 AMNH pterosaur display here and elsewhere. Evidently they have decided to stop using math, physics and modern analogs, alas, to their disgrace… while cartooning (Fig. 1) the bird-like pterosaurs under the guise of a scientific exhibition.

Figure 1. GIF animation from the American Museum of Natural History showing how their Pteranodon managed to hop off the surface of the water until suddenly able to flap and fly. Totally bogus.

Figure 1. GIF animation from the American Museum of Natural History showing how their Pteranodon managed to hop off the surface of the water until suddenly able to flap and fly. Totally bogus. It won’t develop any lift or thrust with wings folded. …Unless Pteranodon was filled with helium?? Those deep chord wing membranes are likewise not preserved in any fossil. 

Above is how the American Museum of Natural History
(AMNH) imagines the takeoff of Pteranodon from calm seas (Fig. 1, AMNH webpage). Not credible. Not accurate, either with those deep chord wing membranes, not yet found in any fossils.

Pelican take-off sequence from water.

Figure 2. Pelican take-off sequence from water. Click to enlarge.

Above is how the living pelican
(Pelecanus) actually takes off from gulf waters (Fig. 2 and YouTube video above it in slow motion, click to view). The Pteranodon-like pelican lifts its great wings out of the water to develop lift and thrust. Ground effect keeps it out of the water after one flap. Water is where drag occurs. And legs kicking or hopping has never lifted any pelican out of the water. The wings, fully extended as taut airfoils, do 99% of the work. The foot hops off of wave tops after flight has been initiated, are negligible thrust producers.

Figure 3. Triebold Pteranodon in floating configuration. Center of balance marked by cross-hairs.

Figure 3. Triebold Pteranodon in floating configuration. Center of balance marked by cross-hairs.

Above is how ReptileEvolution.com
imagines Pteranodon floating on the sea (Fig. 4) using its air-filled wing bones as lateral floatation devices. The torso and skull were also lighter than an equal volume of water, as in all floating birds.

Pterosaur water launch

Figure 4. Ornithocheirid water launch sequence in the pattern of a pelican launch. LIke ducks, geese and pelicans, pterosaur probably floated high in the water. Here the wings rise first and unfold in an unhurried fashion, keeping dry and unencumbered by swirling waters. Then the legs run furiously, like a Jesus lizard, but with such tiny feet, they were not much help in generating forward motion. The huge wings, however, did create great drafts of air, thrusting the pterosaur forward until sufficient airspeed was attained, as in the pelican.

Earlier we looked at several water take-off scenarios
for pterosaurs using Anhanguera as a model (Fig. 4). Keep those wings out of the water where they can develop thrust and lift with full extension and taut membranes. A sagging wing membrane (Fig. 1) develops neither lift nor thrust.

Successful heretical bird-style Pteranodon wing launch

Figure 5. Click to play. Successful heretical bird-style Pteranodon wing launch in which the hind limbs produce far less initial thrust because the first downstroke of the already upraised wing provides the necessary thrust for takeoff in the manner of birds. This assumes a standing start and not a running start in the manner of lizards. Note three wing beats take place in the same space and time that only one wing beat takes place in the Habib/Molnar model. Compare to a similar number of wingbeats in the pelican.

Above is how the heretical hypothesis
imagines the takeoff of Pteranodon from the ground (Fig. 4): just like a crane, pelican or other large bird. For a water takeoff, just add water and keep the wings off the surface. Flapping so close to the water takes advantage of ‘ground effect’ where lift is increased when the wing is close to the ground.

By contrast,
either the AMNH model is made of helium or hung on a string, or the sea is made of jello, because against all laws of physics somehow those tiny fingers and feet are keeping the head and torso above the watery surface. If anyone can defend the AMNH scenario, please make comment below.

Just found out: The quad fly hypothesis goes back to 1943!
Daffy Duck in “To Duck or Not to Duck” was using the quad style to fly (Fig. 6) back in 1943, just before Elmer Fudd fired a shotgun at him. Compare this technique to Pteranodon in figure 1 and you’ll see convergence on a massive scale.

Figure 8. Daffy Duck in "To Duck or Not to Duck" 1943 uses the quad fly method. See figure 1 for comparable take-off technique.

Figure 8. Daffy Duck in “To Duck or Not to Duck” 1943 uses the quad fly method. See figure 1 for comparable take-off technique.

At the AMNH
Dr. Mark Norell, curator and chair of the Museum’s Paleontology Division, oversaw the pterosaur exhibition with Dr. Alexander Kellner of Museu Nacional in Rio de Janiero.

 

 

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