Physical and theoretical models show that pterosaurs (Thalassodromeus, right) could not meet the energy requirements of skimming, a rare feeding strategy practiced habitually by just a few extant Rynchops species (black skimmer, left). Credit: Image: Mark Witton In order to envisage the behaviors and lifestyles of now extinct animals, palaeontology often relies on extrapolating from modern species. Scientists identify shared anatomical features and infer from these shared ways of life. This method is often used to predict the diet of an extinct species based on comparisons of fossilized teeth, or used to conclude that species with large eyes were nocturnal. However, a new paper from Stuart Humphries, Richard Bonser, and colleagues, published in the open access journal PLoS Biology, provides a cautionary tale. Previous work on pterosaurs concluded that some species fed by skimming along the surface of the water with their mouths held open, but this paper overturns that inference, showing that this kind of feeding was highly unlikely to have occurred in pterosaurs after all.