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In a message dated 96-02-29 10:42:37 EST, longrich@phoenix.Princeton.EDU
(Nicholas R. Longrich) writes:
> I don't know the hard
>anatomical details, but one thing it doesn't look like is a pterosaur.
>You can follow the rear flight membrane all the way out to one of the toes,
>but I couldn't see anything on the forelimbs. I'd guess its a rather
>improbable pterosaurian ancestor just on that basis, that the hindlimbs
>rather than forelimbs are developed for gliding. But it is an incredibly
>cute little creature.
_Shaorivpteryx_ occurs far too late in time (Late Triassic) to have been
ancestral to pterosaurs. Rather, it could well be an independent lineage
derived from a basal "proto-pterosaur" that "glided" using only an
uropatagial membrane: the common ancestor of pterosaurs and _Sharovipteryx_.
_Sharovipteryx_ was highly specialized for gliding with an uropatagial
membrane. It didn't get that way overnight, and it must have passed through
earlier stages, unrepresented in the fossil record, from a form initially
lacking any flight membranes. One of those stages, with a moderately
developed uropatagial membrane, is what could also have been ancestral to