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Flarp

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Flarp

The structure of the flarp's forelimb and hand is similar to that of a flying pterosaur. The fourth finger is long and supports a flap of skin - the vestige of the flying wing. Now the wing flap is used for display - for attracting mates or for warning rivals. The fourth finger and the flap are normally held hack out of the way (a), but when displaying they arc-extended and the bright patterns are shown (b). This display is accompanied by raucous screeches that carry for great distances across the plains. Flarps feed on plants and grasses that grow close to the ground. They have short, sharp teeth positioned at the front of the mouth (c).

Flarp displays

The Flarp (Vexillala robusta) is an ostrich-like, flightless, bipedal, herbivorous pterosaur from Dougal Dixon's The New Dinosaurs: An Alternative Evolution. It lives in African short grass savannah.

Another of the ground-dwelling pterosaurs of the African savanna besides the lank is the flarp. Its specializations are not so extreme as those of the lank, and its flying ancestry is still evident from the presence of vestigial wings on its forelimbs. It can be thought of as an intermediate evolutionary stage between a conventional flying pterosaur and something as specialized as the lank. Although it lives in the same environment as the lank the two animals do not compete for the same food. Being much smaller, only about a meter (3 feet) high at the shoulder compared to the lank's head height of 3-4 meters (10-13 feet), it feeds closer to the roots of the plants. The lank tends to graze the tops of the grass heads and leaves. The flarp's sharp teeth at the front of the mouth enable it to root about among the plants at ground level. It has fleshy lips and copious cheek pouches enabling it to chew the grass and plants thoroughly before swallowing. After digesting for a while in the stomach the grass is brought up again for more chewing before being swallowed for a final time. In this way nutrients are efficiently extracted from the plants. The flarp runs about the plains in small flocks of about a dozen and can often be seen displaying their brightly patterned wings, or squatting down in the grass in groups during the heat of the day and chewing over the morning's meal.

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