The Pterosaur Flight Dynamics group is a work group based in the Musum of Natural History, Karlsruhe, Germany (SMNK) and over the last 2 years has had an active research programme investigating the evolution of flight in pterosaurs, aerodynamic performance, membrane elasticity and their influences on pterosaur ecology and palaeobiology. The work group is comprised of several workers at the SMNK under the supervision of Prof. Frey and a number of other professional institutions throughout Germany, including the University of Karlsruhe, DLR, Itv Denkendorf, Global Safety Textiles. The project is supported by funding from the DFG.
The State Museum of Natural History Karlsruhe (http://www.smnk.de) is home to a large number of researchers from a variety of natural science disciplines. In addition to its other collections of fossil vertebrate the Museum holds a significant amount of pterosaur material from the Cretaceous Crato and Santan Formations of Brazil. The primary project workers of this study are based in the SMNK under the supervision of Prof. Eberhard “Dino” Frey.
The Deutches Zentrum für Luft-und Raumfahrt (DLR), or German Aerospace Centre (http://www.dlr.de) is the primary contact for the project on all matters relating to aerodynamic performance. The center has a large amount of expertise in a wide field of aerodynamics but are principly involved to assist in aerodynamic modelling via computer simulations and to help investigate the aeroelastic effects of a membranous wing in pterosaurs. The primary contact for the research group here is Dr Wolf Krüger.
The University of Karlsruhe (UT) is situated in close proximity to the SMNK and provides the project with easy access in addition to the aerodynamic assistance of the Department of Engineering, which also has an active interest in modelling biological flight. The University supplies the project with a number of software programmes as well as use of the large wind tunnel where the majority of the physical experiments of the project are completed. The university provides adminitrative support to those project workers completing their doctoral studies.
The project and its workers are supported by grants provided by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) on a two – three year period.