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Testing Pterosaurs

On Wed, 2 Aug 1995 00:52:20, David Peters <DPterosaur@aol.com> wrote:

> I have built full-scale pterosaur skeletons of Dimorphodon, Nyctosaurus,
> Pteranodon and others of wood, plastic and wire. They were based on first
> hand inspections of actual fossils and casts of many specimens and they
> passed inspection (Dr. Padian saw them too) at the last SVP conference in
> Seattle.  The models can be manipulated into almost any natural pose. 
> I can hang my models quadrupedally from the trunks of pine trees which they
> seem perfectly suited to do.  I can balance these skeletons on their hind
> legs alone.  I can also put them on all fours on the ground. 
> In contrast to the traditional quad model, by keeping the elbows of my 
> tucked in (wings folded completely), the wing can move parasagittally by
> swinging either at the shoulder or at the elbow.  The foreclaws in this
> position extend laterally, matching Pteraichnus prints exactly (in both 
> digit I does not touch the ground). Thus pterosaurs were both bipedal and
> quadrupedal, like many living lizards.
> The value of a model is not its ability to demonstrate the truth, but to get
> closer to the truth than any previous model.  I think these sculptures are a
> better model than any illustration because they are much harder to fudge 
> subconsciously modify to fit a preconceived paradigm), which is a problem I
> see often in the literature and which I have caught myself at occasionally.
> (But that's science!)

digital photos or QuickTime clips that you could make available to the Dino 
list folks?  I for one would be very interested in seeing these positions and 
motions you describe.  It would be especially interesting to see some stop-
motion gait sequences.

Skip Dahlgren
Applications Programmer, Office of Educational Development
University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences
Phone: 501/296-1087; FAX: 501/686-7053
e-mail: sdahlgren@liblan.uams.edu; bcsskip@aol.com
-ex-archaeologist; lifelong afficionado of dinosaurs and their latter-day kin 
(especially crows and other corvids)