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Re: The synsacrum

At 10:42 PM 7/21/95, DPterosaur@aol.com wrote:
>Can anyone explain for me the development of an extensive synsacrum in large
>pterosaurs, other than as an adaptation to the stress of standing bipedally?

        Well, it's still a matter of debate -- and it's one of those things
that people seem to be fervently _for_ or _against_, with little in between
-- but I personally don't find the evidence for regular bipedalism in
pterosaurs to be compelling.  Footprints argue against it; physics argues
against it; basic logic argues against it, and though I can picture a
pterosaur in bipedal stance on rare occasions, I don't think that was a
preferred method of locomotion.

        Thus, just why the development of a synsacrum?  Almost certainly
for rigidity and muscle attachment -- possibly something to do with flight
(fine control of the tail and feet), and possibly some unguessed-at
function of the feet.

Jerry D. Harris
Schuler Museum of Paleontology
Southern Methodist University
        (Compuserve:  73132,3372)

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