Hey guys sorry for being so out of touch, I moved down to Burbank last month and have been adjusting to the new scene. I wanted to show you some of the work I had been doing before I moved down. Here is a Quetzalcoatlus sp. design I did for Saurian. The old design needed a pretty major overhaul. I took the opportunity to play with a few design ideas I had long been wanting to implement. Chief amongst those was the grim reaper aesthetic. I wanted this thing to feel very imposing but still grounded so it took a bit of work to hit a design I really liked. I hope you guys dig it too. I'll start posting art regularly again soon, got some cool things in the works.
Photoshop CS5: 10 hours
Quetzalcoatlus sp. Design©Urvogel Games LLC
Pterosaurs have multiple adaptions for flights, similar to birds. They have hollow, but reinforced bones. The larger ones feature a toothless beak. Pterosaurs, unlike birds, fly by utilizing a designated membrane. Pterosaurs also launch off the ground using their forelimbs, which would put this thing around a meter into the air before the first flap, allowing for an easier take-off than possible with birds. Bats (who lack beaks and hollow bones) actually take off in a similar fashion.
In short, Pterosaurs as large as Q.northropi fly because they cheat like a cheetah, Pterosaurs as large as the here depicted Q.sp. or the slightly larger Pteranodon fly because why wouldn't they.
(Also, fun fact, while we have no modern ones, a few extinct birds grew to similar wingspans as Q.sp., such as Argentavis and Pelagornis. Meanwhile, we have a living gliding animal with a 7-meter wingspan in the Manta ray)
Hollow bones, yes, like birds. But you can only reinforce so much before they become too heavy, right? So when exactly is the point reached that the bones are either too heavy for flight, or too fragile to put up with the repeated stress from flapping. I think that point is at eight meters wingspan, maximum.
Specialised membrane? Someone mentioned that before, like stingrays? I see two massive problems with this thesis: A) muscles are heavy, and they can only pull, not push, so for utilizing they'll need a construction beneath, either made of bone or cartilage, for which there is no proof. B) flapping muscles don't generate the lift and thrust needed to actually take off. Or you mean 'bat-like' membrane, but that isn't actually specialized and are just two layers of skin stretched between finger and hips, nothing more.
I also have a large problem with the Quadlaunch/Polelaunch theory. You see, I don't see how they generate the thrust needed just by jumping into the air. Bats I believe, because they are small and light, but anything larger? Imagine it with a pole vaulter: If that works like they describe it works, it would mean that a pole vaulter jabs his poles into the ground, manages to wrench himself a few meters into the air, then lifts the poles and unfolds them to at least twice the length as they were before, manages to bring them up and flap them down before he smacks back against the ground. Additionally, he would have to be high up enough to prevent smacking his poles against the ground. Plus, the first downward motion requires such a massive amount of strength, the muscles would literally break the own bones. (this can really happen, that's why large birds rarely pull their wings all the way through when flying (pelicans, swans,...), and unlike pterosaurs, bird wings are only half bone, and the tip is feather, thus more resistant to this kind of stress) Doesn't really sound plausible to me.
Easier take-off? I heard that before, that birds weren't as efficient as pterosaurs, and I don't believe it. Mostly because the pterosaur wings look very similar to swift/frigate bird/albatross wings, so it is plausible that these birds are the closest comparisons. As for other birds, hummingbirds can literally fly backwards, can fly faster than 90 kilometers per hour. Gold Eagles (seven kilograms at most) can still kill and pick prey off the ground that's close to fifteen kilograms- they are capable of taking off carrying twice their own weight. While pterosaurs? I think the thesis Texas Tech University brought out in November 2012 (article here: www.sciencedaily.com/releases/…) is the closest hypothesis about the pterosaur take-off- they just run down a hill, leaving their wings spread open and generate the necessary lift needed that way, similar to a frigate bird or albatross.
Also, bats are the most bird-like mammals. Having a large ribcage as anchor point for the muscles, hollow bones like birds (they have, check it out) and produce guano.
Better question: Is there proof they did? I'll be the first one to say sorry should there ever be evidence that these large critters could actually fly, but until now? I stick with my thesis that up to four meters wingspan is similar to an albatross, up to eight meters is like a hang glider and everything over that would need a plane to get off the ground. And never forget- what we have today are only hypotheses, basing on up-scaled models and reconstructions (never forget spinosaurus), so there are mistakes extremely likely. And unless the theory is prooved, my is true just as much.
The existence of Argentavis and Pelagornis is the only reason I allow the existence of eight-meter-wingspan flying pterosaurs. But these animals could only fly with the help of thermal updrifts or sea winds, so why should pterosaurs be any different?
Also, the Manta Ray is a bad comparison. A) They don't fly, they don't even glide. They only jump, and not very high. B) Water is a very dense medium. It is easy to pretend flight in water (just think penguins) but real flight means you are in the air, and air is a very thin medium.
Fun fact: There are at least six living bird families that can no longer fly, plus at least six extinct bird families who couldn't fly either (and a few of them aren't very big), and neither of them are really closely related to the others. So when birds, who are classified by their ability to fly, cannot do so, why is it so hard to believe that there were Pterosaurs who couldn't fly either?
Also, I hope you are not like the other narrow-minded plebeians around here and actually take time to read my reply and at least try to understand my point of view.
If not, then keep it to yourself, because I'd hate having to block you from replying to prevent this spiralling out of control and saving me from the stress this entire discussion causes.
Paragraphs. Use more of them.
So, let us analyze your problems one by one.
Large Azhdarchids do not have the same wing structure as the type of Pterosaurs who have 100% skeletons. Just like Albatrosses and hummingbirds have notably different wings. This is less noticeable in Pterosaurs (since we can't observe them in the flesh) but nonetheless present. Obviously, upscaling (and conversely downscaling) usually doesn't lead to useful results when it comes to flying animals.
That's why we don't use it beyond "rough wing structure".
Pterosaurs aren't bats. Pterosaurs also aren't dudebros. Their membrane is more sophisticated than just "bat skinflap" or "muscles pretending to be bacon"
Muscles and pushing:
Ever heard of levers?
Just like feathers, "meat" is more resistant to stress than bone. Bird wings also aren't even close to being half bone, but I believe that I am being pedantic there.
Do keep in mind that I talked about take-off while discussing Quetzalcoatlus sp., Q. northropi and other Azhdarchids might have taken flight by other means. Or maybe not, guess we'll have to wait for more material until then. I personally believe that large Pterosaurs could substitute the cliff with a simple running start, given how fast the bloody weirdos likely were.
Texas Tech University article:
This article specifically deals with giant Azhdarchids like Q. northropi and Hatzegopteryx thambema. Q. sp. is not a large Azhdarchid and would've likely been capable of taking flight rather easily.
Bats do not have bird-esque hollow bones. Bones are of course always hollow, but one shouldn't mistakenly believe that this makes "We have bone marrow" bats in any way equal to the hollow bones of birds and other dinosaurs, some of which even use that space to breathe. Bats sharing guano with birds is an etymological thing, not a biological thing.
Evidence that such large animals can fly/Large wingspan:
Pretty sure that we have an almost complete wing for H. thambema. I don't see why an animal incapable of flight would have any wingspan at all?
Hypotheses, but put in cursive to convey disdain:
Hypotheses are, at worst, laymen's theories created by someone who has a lot of knowledge in a field. Dismissing a hypothesis for the sake of it being a hypothesis is not only unfair but bordering on the anti-scientific.
A scientific theory is not a hypothesis is not a layman theory is not a good guess is not potentially fraudulent depending on the opinions of individuals.
Who's to say that those two genera could fly? If Pterosaurs can happily live while being fully terrestrial, why shouldn't they?
Manta Ray gliding:
Gliding is just slow falling. Manta Rays can decide if they want to fall slightly slower or slightly faster. Now granted, they aren't flying squirrels, but something is better than nothing.
That right there is probably the weirdest way of describing physics that I've ever encountered.
I guess bats and most insects are birds now? Jab aside, all flightless species of birds have greatly reduced wings. Every single one. Without exceptions. I will gift you my Steam account if you can find one that doesn't. We do not see similar adaptions in H.thambema or other Azhdarchids. (These adaptions would be evident in a greatly reduced wing finger, before you accuse me of trying to disarm those poor Pterosaurs).
I find this slightly unfair, seeing as you deliberately misinterpreted me at one point (during the manta ray segment). In case that you think that I didn't adequately deal with your argument and no longer wish to listen to my wonderful voice, I found a nice scientific article that neatly talks about how Pterosaurs work. Here you go: journals.plos.org/plosone/arti…
Go here if you just want the segment about flightless Pterosaurs:
Anyways, what I think is that Witton, being leading expert, has his theory and will not, under any circumstances change his point of view.
Also, hypotheses are only hypotheses, and both are correct until proven otherwise. Are they not? How can you say that my idea is wrong, even though there is no concrete evidence for yours?
On a side note, muscles in the arm do nothing for flight ability. You need to look at the muscles in the chest for that. Lever action, you know?
Also, about my language: I am German. I don't understand half the words you guys are throwing at me, and every time I write, I try to keep it as easy as possible.
But I worked through this article of Mr. Witton (it's always the same guy, what if he was wrong?), and I give you counterarguments:
Why I think giant Pterosaurs could not fly: pterosaurheresies.wordpress.co…
Pterosaur Wing form: pterosaurheresies.wordpress.co…
An actual flightless Pterosaur: pterosaurheresies.wordpress.co…
Flight issues: pterosaurheresies.wordpress.co…
Walking Pterosaur: www.reptileevolution.com/ptero…
Launch theory problems: pterosaurheresies.wordpress.co…
Just look at them.
Also, I could have done way worse than 'Plebeian', just wasn't worth my time swearing here. But you just proved yourself that you apparently belong with them as well, so my threat to block you should you not stop harassing me is still valid. And harassing is in this case denouncing my own opinion as rubbish without even seeing that I too could have a point.
EDIT: Also, I just looked it up. Apparently bats do not have hollow bones. I didn't know that, sorry about that.
And I've absolutely thought about it, I read a lot of paleo stuff, and I've written about pterosaur flight (which was a lot of in-depth research).
The fact that you cite a single person who is widely known to be unreliable is to your discredit, my friend.
Because you just proved to me that you are just as narrow-minded as I figured you out to be. I gave you facts and a radically different theory and you tell me I'm an idiot. Now I know that you are an idiot. You didn't even look at them, did you?
Because David Peters isn't Mark Witton, is it that? Peters is just as much of an expert as Whitton, only not acknowledged because he has a different view than the mainstream experts. Kinda like in the Middle Ages.
Because you refuse to see the things that make no sense, because you have no clue about how the real world works. You're only looking at it from the view of a typical fanboy ('Expert A said it is like that, so it is, and I'm not thinking about it any further because then I'd make a fool of myself in front of my peers'). I, on the other hand, look at things from a Biologist's (mine, studied anatomy and biology) and an Engineer's (Dad's) point of view.
Admittedly, neither theory has any proof. Only indications. Because, as far as I know, we simply don't have any complete fossils of anything much larger than a heron. And neither have we anything today that is even remotely like a Pterosaur (except for gulls perhaps, and they match only approximately). Until that proof is found, for whichever theory, I remain on my point that no, something as big as a Giraffe and as heavy as a horse could not fly. Unless it is a magical critter capable of cancelling physical laws.
At any rate, this means I just wasted time and effort and nerves trying to talk to a wall. In Englisch, auch noch, sonst hätte ich dich auch auf Deutsch zusammenscheißen können.
Now I also know that I just don't have to talk to you guys. A Good day, I say.
Well that's just sad, ain't it.
I bedachte all your points and reacted to them fairly. It isn't my fault that your position is so unsinnig that it would make an American Politician blush. If you're wrong, you're wrong.
That being said, my disliking of Peters isn't based upon him having a different viewpoint than Mark Witton. My disliking is based on him being this guy: www.google.com/search?q=David+…
Have his rationalwiki article for good measure: rationalwiki.org/wiki/David_Pe…
Mister David Peters ist eine Witzfigur. Seine Ideen sind aberwitzing und seine Methoden sind bestenfalls unreliabel und unwissenschaftlich (bestenfalls!). Er ist der Klimaleugner der Paläokunst. Falls du einen anderen Author finden kannst der ähnlich Sachen sagt, benutze bitte diesen. Nahezu niemand der sich gut genug mit Paläontologie auskennt um zu wissen wer Mark Witton ist wird David Peters als eine gute oder überhaupt akzeptable Quelle ansehen.
A good day to you too.
Addendum: "According to all known laws of aviation, there is no way a bee should be able to fly. Its wings are too small to get its fat little body off the ground. The bee, of course, flies anyway because bees don't care what humans think is impossible." ~ The Bee Movie, 2017.
My doubts are founded on following:
1. Joints say nothing about whether or not something could fly. Elephants, Sauropods and Humans have pretty darn strong joints, too, and neither can fly.
2. Up-Scaling from smaller critters does not work that easily. 'Double the Height, Quadruple the Weight', after all.
3. Witton's blog does not explain how these animals were supposed to generate enough lift to get off the ground. It does not explain how they start and how they stay in the air. For comparison: A Light-weight plane of the same weight would need to go at least 80 to 100 kilometers per hour. There are only very few animals that can reach that speed, and none can fly.
4. This entire blog also does not explain how to stabilize the bones. That is absolutely needed to protect against the enormous forces that influence a structure in mid-flight.
5. There are no complete fossils of these actual creatures - only smaller relatives. Basically: there is no actual evidence that such huge animals could fly. Only hypothesises exist, and until one finds the evidence I need to believe that, I'll stay with my theory that, no, animals the size of a Giraffe and the weight of a Horse could not fly.
6. Look here for why I think how I think: www.sciencedaily.com/releases/…
7. Again, if there had been huge flying monsters in the past, why aren't there any today? Because it's not possible. The same physical laws that limit the size of flying critters today worked just as fine in the past. What doesn't work today, didn't work then, either. Simple as that.
This is my reasoning for what I said. Please do not start another Sh*tstorm over it. I am really, really tired of that.
The central point of this whole argument is- I have a problem imagining this Quadlaunch.
This is the whole reason I can't take Witton seriously. I mean, bats can take off, because a) they are small, and b) They can not walk. Bat hips are turned around, so their knees and feet point backwards, as opposed to a pterosaur's forwards. In other words, they have to take off by catapulting themselves, because there is no other way for them to get off the floor.
But Pterosaurs are giant. Even the 'small' ones are easily as large or larger than a bat. That means their weight is simply too much for them to just catapult themselves into the air, because they would need to jump high enough to avoid hitting the floor with their wings. And then there is the size of the wing. I can not imagine that these animals were able to spread their wings open and do a flap before they hit the ground, when drag and air resistance would slow the entire process down.
But I still compare them to seagulls. Ever watched a seagull? Their wings are technically long enough so they could take off using the Quadlaunch too. And animals like the goose are strong enough to break a man's leg with a flap, so they certainly are not missing in strength to take off like that.
And why should pterosaurs do it any differently? One of the others told me on an article I send them about the possible take-off procedure of giant pterosaurs (in which they just start running against the wind and off a slope, see here: www.sciencedaily.com/releases/…), that this only includes the giant pteorsaurs and that is no proof that the smaller ones did not vault into the air. I say it's a pretty strong argument for my hypothesis, because why should the small ones, who share the same body structure, do it any differently from the big ones?
And more even, any reconstruction I've seen gave a pterosaur a very small chest and a very small sternum. Every fossil I've seen was even lacking the sternum, even when flying membranes were preserved. And that means to me, that we have a very wrong picture of these animals. They did not have a sternum necessary for large muscles, neither did they have a large ribcage like bats for the same purpose.
Which means they possibly did not have large pectoral muscles like birds or bats.
This does, however ironically, allow for the idea of giant flying animals with 8 meters and more wingspan- they simply did not have the muscles, so they were a lot lighter than Pelagornis or Argentavis.
But they simply did not have the muscles necessary for vaulting into the air or flapping to take off. In other words, Pterosaurs were extremely good gliders and dynamic fliers like seagulls (especially alabtross and frigate bird) or swifts (both of which are able to spend easily ten months or more in the air without landing), but very, very, very bad in landing and starting. Which isn't a bad thing, because evolution only works until it works, then there's no reason to perfect something.
I really hope you've read my argument and not just wave it off. Because that is what I think, and we have no proof that it worked either way, as there are no animals like these creatures left today.
Where is the problem with stabilizing the bones? The same applys to small animals relative to body size. And big Pterosaurs would have the same function in place.
There are no complete fossils, so? The Remains we do have show an animal with fully developed wings, and clear flight adaptions? Where is your point?
2) Who says that bird launch is inefficent? Because far as I see it, birds are really successful out there, with some members (golden eagles) being able to take off with prey that is easily their own weight. While, surprise, surprise, Pterosaurs went extinct.
3) 200 to 300 Kilograms is still heavier than the lightest light-frame plane (80-160 kilograms), and they still need to go at 80 kilometers per hour to take off. Please tell me, how an animal is supposed to build that kind of speed and/or generate the lift needed by jumping off the floor.
4) You don't seem to understand simple physics, do you? The longer a bone/rod is, the more force it has to take. Especially torsion (twisting) and pulling powers, both being forces that bones cannot support indefinently. You can't make a bone both lightweight and stable enough to take this kind of force.
5) We have complete fossils of small pterosaurs. Far I have seen, nothing larger than a flamingo or eagle has ever been found in such a complete state that their flight capablities was not questionable. What did we found of giant pterosaurs? Pieces of arms, pieces of skulls. Nothing more. We can't work from smaller fossils, and we can't work from bone joints alone- otherwise it would be feasible that humans could fly because our shoulders can support our own weight.
No one said that Bird Launch is inefficient, but there is a reason no flighted Bird got bigger than Pelagornis. Quadrupedal Launch is just more efficientat allowing bigger animals to fly, why would birds need to get bigger today anyway? Most Megafauna died out, and it would be just a waste of energy.
Surprise Surprise, Tyrannosaurs went extinct, does that make them less efficient and sucessfull animals?
Your reasoning is flawed, and you lack basic knowledge of pterosaur anatomy.
What anatomy? The anatomy scaled up from tiny animals? The anatomy in tiny animals lacking a sternum needed for musclular anchor?
Ever seen a large bird fly? They don't flap their wings very much. The larger they are, the less they flap their wings.
Why not? Planes use the same physical laws to fly as birds do, so my comparison is valid. Except for that it is entirely possible to get a 600-ton plane off the ground, because they can generate more thrust and lift.
You don't get it, don't you? At some points, the energy required to fly needs more rescources than walking.
Witton doesn't explain how the bone doesn't break. Do you know what kind of powers work on a wing? No you don't, because you never look at the physical side of the equation, you basically try to explain to me that Pterosaurs were magical animals capable of working around physical laws, don't you?
Again, what works for a 50-gram bat doesn't work for a 100-kilogram pterosaur. Different forces at work here.
Well, they're all dead, aren't they? I'd say they weren't very successful then, especially considering Crocodiles and sharks are still around.
What we lack is basic proof. Basic proof actually showing that these things could fly. I haven't seen anything yet, just calculations and theories based on incomplete findings of larger animals and upscaled models of smaller relatives. Until now, we know that the biggest bird was a six-meter-wingspan seagull. We know this, because we have found a complete wing of the animal. What did we found of giant Pterosaurs? Teeth and pieces of legs.
Learn physics, please.
Also, since I know that this is going to be me yelling at a wall, because you Pterosaur Fanboys don't even look at it from every angle, like checking research done in 2012 at the Texas Tech University that showed that the previously found 'pole-vault' launch is stupid, or checking David Peters' theories, I will tell you this only once:
If you do not desist from trying to tell me stuff which I don't believe, and more even, telling me I'm an idiot because I have a different opinion while you ignore basic physical laws, and you not even wanting to listen (you didn't answer my questions, nor did you respond to the points I made beforehand), I will block you.
just a question,
why are you even comparing animals with Planes in the first place?
it's like comparing Whales to Nuclear submarines, i mean how the hell did whales manage to be that hidden from human civilization (tell me how much information we have on whales,. especially regarding their oceangoing routine). whales still make as much noise as a pop music concert yet they're just hidden as the Great White shark when it comes to ocean travel barring satellite footage of resurfacing.
also you seem to be under the impression as if the creatures have very weak muscles or no air sacs at all.
its not like its obvious that large skeletons cannot fly if there is no hint of meat or any other organ on them.
so yeah at least the only things comparable is the use of physics, what do you expect Giant bats with Rockets in their butts?
"Ever seen a large bird fly? They don't flap their wings very much. The larger they are, the less they flap their wings."
the same could be said for large pterosaurs, why flap when you're basically gliding from a high point you just vaulted?
also air sacs which the pterosaurs obviously have helps this, do you expect them to be robotic to the point of being plane like?
either you see everything as a literal machine or you have not been to a Biology class itself. maybe just maybe, you haven't even see all the organs of the eagle.
tip: find a carcass and dissect it and analyze it, there is more to it than just weight. after all how much does a bird eat? also feather structures also apply
"Well, they're all dead, aren't they? I'd say they weren't very successful then, especially considering Crocodiles and sharks are still around."
well guess this proves you have not been to my current knowledge, at least high school level biology class.
aside from taxonomy, did they ever teach you how evolution actually works?
also why sharks and crocs? yes they're genetically survivors from the days of prehistory, but are they the exact same creature? or just did not change much for their ecological niche.
last time i checked, there was a large shark called Megalodon who also got out-competed by the Great white shark for interesting reasons.
they're unsuccessful for different reasons.
"We know this, because we have found a complete wing of the animal. What did we found of giant Pterosaurs? Teeth and pieces of legs."
last time i checked several gaint pterosaurs were skulls, etc.
but one of the known largest one was indeed discovered with a wing, albeit partial but still relatively big.
i shall drop this name here if you don't mind: Geosternbergia
also Paleontology have large quantities of incomplete fossils, which is why speculation based on evidence is important.
phylogeny makes a huge part of paleontology
"Also, since I know that this is going to be me yelling at a wall, because you Pterosaur Fanboys don't even look at it from every angle,"
look who's talking, it's the pot calling the kettle black. you need to go out of the Airport, like seriously. get your eyes from that flight simulator in the Janitor closet.
"like checking research done in 2012 at the Texas Tech University that showed that the previously found 'pole-vault' launch is stupid"
citation please, this post alone has name dropped several animals.
because that research is going to be analyzed by my friends as well.
" or checking David Peters' theories"
before i reply, mind if i ask kindly?
why his theories? compared to better Pterosaur experts out there... why him?
i'm guessing you have not even checked his credibility in regards to his research.
"If you do not desist from trying to tell me stuff which I don't believe, and more even, telling me I'm an idiot because I have a different opinion while you ignore basic physical laws"
like how you do those to almost everyone who's not in your little line your highness
after all you ARE the dragon lord right?
you have a dragon beside your golden throne as you see everything as mechanical based on the only comparable reason of physics alone. ignoring other organic components that only nature can apply.
but of course, i will never go against you
otherwise you will chop my head off with that guillotine or eaten by your dragon
just like that one queen who love sending people's heads off in that one story where a girl met a Caterpillar and singing flowers
"and you not even wanting to listen (you didn't answer my questions, nor did you respond to the points I made beforehand), I will block you."
ah i see that's your plan your highness
increasing the sound of the radio that echoes your delightful opinion in your throne room right?
also blocking them before they reply is you admitting you defeat
but that's good because, after all you are the dragon lord and queen on top of a pile of gold.