The Pterosaur paper is really hitting the media and blogs today. Of course, it is kind of a blogospheric “baby”. One of the authors is my SciBling Darren Naish, the other author is Mark Witton, and even the Academic Editor who handled the manuscript is a scienceblogger.
Darren first broached the idea on his old blog two years ago. He got feedback (the modern version of peer review) in the comments of his post and set out to work on it. Two years later, the paper has passed the ‘traditional’ peer review and got published.
In short, the idea is that gigantic adult pterosaurs did not fly, or at least not very often. They probably could if needed, but they preferred to walk instead. And, as their beaks are as long as 2 meters, a bitesize prey could include some animals of quite decent size, e.g., baby dinosaurs. It would take a very large, very ferocious and very angry Mother Dinosaur to attack and successfully repel an entire flock of these guys!
Darren gives more details in his today’s post. Mark added more images and text onto his Flickr site (go through all images to see text), and they even started a brand new blog just about this paper – Azhdarchid Paleobiology – where you can get even more background and details on their work.
Predictably, other bloggers picked up on it. Check out what they say as well: Greg Laden, Will Baird, JMC Natural History Blog, Zach Miller, El PaleoFreak, Daniel Cressey and I am sure more are in the works. If you intend to write about it (or any other PLoS ONE paper), please, if your software allows it, send trackbacks.
Also, feel free to rate the paper, post notes and comments on it, ask questions – I bet Darren, being a blogger, will not be reluctant to answer right there on the paper itself.