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I'm in the process of creating flying animals big enough to carry a human being on their back, the problem is that if it's too big, the wingspan also has to be and muscle will be needed for the wings to function properly, but muscles add weight and a lot of weight can anchor the animal to the ground. So I've been thinking about bones being made of metal, there are metals (like iron) in animals, so the animal's organism could gather enough metal to gradually add metal to the bones (it would be like a hybrid skeleton, 80-90% normal and 20 -10% metal) as the animal grows. But metal is heavy and I don't know if this "metallurgy" is possible, so I'm looking for something more plausible. How ​​to make the bones of a large flying animal hollow and at the same time strong?

Data about the animals I want to raise for my world: Pegasus: 21m wingspan, 1.8m high. Weighs 400kg. Dragon: 18m wingspan, 3.60m tall. 300kg (because it has 4 limbs, so it weighs less than a pegasus that has 6). Bird: 15m wingspan, 2.8m tall. 230kg.

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  • $\begingroup$ Metals are reactive - bones are constructed from salts of them (calcium phosphate for most of the Earth species). If the are not reactive, then the organism will have no way to assimilate them. But since this is not a science-based, you can handwave anything you like for a skeleton made of titanium. Otherwise, maybe keep in mind that an elastic structural element will perform better than a rigid one and wings don't need to be sturdy and rigid. $\endgroup$ Nov 22 '21 at 3:05
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Our bones are already 'hollow and at the same time strong'. Our bones have been the result of millions of years of evolution, each successive iteration slowly reducing the resources (mass) of bone structure needed incorporating a cellular structure.

enter image description here

For birds and other flying creatures, such as bats, more so. Their entire being is 'mostly' to reduce weight - their bones being very hollow and strong, but also incorporating Air Pockets as above.

For larger, heavier animals this would continue. Keep in mind the largest existant flying animal, the Quetzalcoatlus, had a wingspan of 13.7m, and weighed 200kg. Although this is still short of your targets, it is much bigger than anything flying now. Your proposed wingspans do not seem too short of what may be needed - regardless though your weight of heavy animals may not benefit all that much from bones of metal after evolution's refinement of bone structure.

What may be more concern is your pegasus and how it can get off the ground. As this model shows, almost all of the creature's design and resources go into its size and wings. It was proposed that Quetzalcoatlus lived on cliffs, because if they landed on the ground it would be almost impossible to get the 'run up' they needed to fly:

enter image description here

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    $\begingroup$ It should be noted that the cliff theory was noted before we figured out they were quardupedal launchers, so since those powerful wings are also walking limbs they can use that power to get into the air at a gallop - it's still an extreme in azdarchids' case but plausible. $\endgroup$
    – XenoDwarf
    Nov 22 '21 at 12:53

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