Research paper

Allometric reconstruction of the flight capacity of Pelagornis chilensis Mayr & Rubilar-Rogers, 2010 (Aves: Pelagornithidae)

Departamento de Paleontología de Vertebrados, Museo de Historia Natural, Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos. Lima 11, Perú.
Corresponding author


Extinct birds of the family Pelagornithidae were large gliding seabirds that inhabited the planet from the late Paleocene to the Pliocene. This investigation studies the flight capacity of a species of pelagornithids, Pelagornis chilensis. Using the sustenance formula and allometric formulas it was shown that different speeds of the fossil bird are significantly greater than Thalassar chechrysostoma, the gray-headed albatross, which is the more morphologically close extant bird to P. chilensis. In addition, consistent with the previous results, it was determined that the parasitic power, the induced power, the muscular strength and the Reynolds number of P. chilensis are significantly greater than the same variables of T. chrysostoma. The method was used in the albatross Diomedea exulans, to check the proximity of the observed values with the calculated ones and estimate the error, obtaining a difference between these results of 2.7%. Finally, the conditions and form of flight and their possible application to the flight are studied; it is hypothesized that due to the large size of both birds and morphology, these flight patterns would have been similar.

Key words: Pelagornithidae, albatross, flight, speed, allometry.

How to cite: Meza-Vélez, I. 2020. Reconstrucción alométrica de la capacidad de vuelo de Pelagornis chilensis Mayr & Rubilar-Rogers, 2010 (Aves: Pelagornithidae). [Allometric reconstruction of the flight capacity of Pelagornis chilensis Mayr & Rubilar-Rogers, 2010 (Aves: Pelagornithidae)]. Spanish Journal of Palaeontology, 35 (2), 229-250.

Received 4 September 2019, Accepted 27 July 2020, Published 31 December 2020

(Spanish only)