One of the best aviators: Rhamphorhynchus
One of the best aviators among pterosaurs was “Rhamphorhynchus”, a pterosaur that lived 120 million years ago. Its wings, like those of other pterodactyls, consisted of special flight skins.
Rhamphorhynchus was probably able to fly just above the water surface and catch small fish. The prerequisite for this: outstanding flight skills – but what did that mean?
The exact shape and suspension of the flight skin was only partially known for a long time. This changed due to a very well preserved find of a Rhamphorhynchus. Not only did he have a completely preserved skeleton, the completely preserved wing membranes were also visible for the first time.
A sensation that provided important information about how and where the membranes were tensioned and suspended.
Pterosaurs in the wind tunnel
To find out what the new findings meant for the flight characteristics, Professor Eberhard Frey from the Natural History Museum Karlsruhe examined a model of the pterosaur in the wind tunnel.
in the focus the experiments: the air currents and eddies that form on the wing edges, as well as the force that, depending on the angle of attack of the wings, acts on the animal (or the model). So conclusions can be drawn on the Aerodynamics of the pterodactyl are drawn.
The previous picture of the pterodactyl had to be re-evaluated after the find. The length of the flight fingers and the trailing edge of the wing as well as the leg position were different than originally thought.
The membrane suspension ran between the front and rear legs. And between the rear legs there was a rear wing membrane that could be controlled like a control flap by the movement of the legs.
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