Pterosaurs are one of the first and largest vertebrates to learn to fly and are often referred to as the cousin of Tyrannosaurus rex. Now scientists have discovered that its neck is longer than a giraffe. Paleontologists from Portsmouth University are in a state of shock at how Pterosaurs gigantic flying azhdarchid have managed to support their thin necks as they fly and take off while carrying their prey.
Detailed analysis of the research Pterosaurs –
In Morocco, with the help of new CT scans of intact remains, the mystery is solved. The results published in iScience show a complex image of spoke-like structures arranged in a helix around a central tube inside the neck vertebra, similar to that of a bicycle wheel. This intricate design shows how Pterosaurs had developed gradually to support their large heads that often measure longer than 1.5 meters. As per the scientist updates, this “lightweight” construction offer strength without hampering its ability to fly.
According to Dave Martill, a professor of palaeo-biology at Portsmouth, it was not seen before. Within the vertebra, the neural tube is placed centrally via several thin rod-like trabeculae, which is connected to the external wall like the spokes of a bicycle wheel radially arranged and along the length of the vertebra helically set. Like the spokes of a bicycle wheel, they even cross over, and due to evolution, these creatures are shaped into awesome, breathtakingly efficient flyers.
Researchers initially had set out to study the shape and movements of the Pterosaur’s neck but used CT scan instead to look inside. As per analysis, 50% of the spokes in the neck could lead to a 90% increase in resistance to buckling. According to Cariad Williams, the first person to write the report, Pterosaurs have ridiculously long necks, and from the head, the 5th vertebra is as long as the animal’s body in some species. From the Triassic period, about 225m years ago, Pterosaurs appeared in fossil records but disappeared at the end of the Cretaceous period, approximately 66m years ago.