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Re: Sharovipteryx



>                                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.

I may be displaying my ignorance here, but has anyone done an aerodynamic
analysis of this creature?  Going on reconstructions only (admittedly a
lousy basis for concluding anything) it looks like having a "gliding"
membrane at the back end would produce a remarkably unstable airfoil
(possibly this explains the critter's early extinction? :)).

Is there any chance, then, that what looks like a "gliding" membrane may not
in fact have been one?  Bats, for example, use the uropatagium for prey
capture as well as flight.  I can't quite imagine how Sharovipteryx could
have done this (could it have suspended itself from a limb by its front
limbs and used the membrane as an insect net?  Are its forelimbs capable of
this?).

How many specimens are known?  If there is just one, is it possible that an
anterior gliding membrane could have been present but is missing on the
specimen?
--
Ronald I. Orenstein                           Phone: (905) 820-7886 (home)
International Wildlife Coalition              Fax/Modem: (905) 569-0116 (home)
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