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It’s a massive, winged Cretaceous beast – could a human ride one?

The Late Cretaceous flying reptiles known as pterosaurs were contemporaries and close relatives of dinosaurs and, as far as we know, the first vertebrates to master powered flight. They came in a variety of sizes, from tiny bats to small planes. When you see the skeleton of a massive one – with a wingspan up to 39 feet (nearly 12 metres) – in a natural history museum, you might wonder how such a creature ever left the ground. Perhaps no one has spent more time pondering this question than Liz Martin-Silverstone, a palaeontologist at the University of Bristol in the UK, who specialises in biomechanics. This short video from the Sicily-based filmmaker Pierangelo Pirak uses Martin-Silverstone’s expertise in pterosaur flight as a springboard for a perhaps unanswerable, but still fun-to-ponder question – would it be possible for a human to ride one?

Video by BBC Reel

Director: Pierangelo Pirak

Website: Pomona Pictures

23 December 2021

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