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Re: thoughts on Pterasaur feet



Betty Cunningham wrote:
>Why do we think the wing finger is the 4th digit, and not, say, a fusing of
>the 4th and 5th?  What do most paleontologists think happened to the 5th wing
>digit?
        I don't know why no one has brought this up, but it has been
suggested (I believe Dinogeorge knows the references...) that the pteroid
bone of pterosaurs is in fact the first digit and the wing finger is the fifth.
        I guess I just haven't read up enough on the subject, but until I
was told other wise, I had always assumed (IMH-uneducated-O) that this was
the case. As George would no doubt point out, climbing herps tend to
elongate their distal digits, not reduce or eliminate them. Of course, if
the ancestors of pterosaurs (_Schleromochlus_?) had already lost manual
digit V, adapting digit IV would clearly be a more likley course of evolution.
        As for the fusing of the outer digits into the wing finger, I
haven't seen or heard any evidence of this. Is one long hollow tube more
likely to be the optimal balance of weight and strength, or are two? I
expect Mickey or Gregory Paul or another of our biomechanically inclined
folk on the list may have something to say about this.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
      Jonathan R. Wagner, Dept. of Geosciences, TTU, Lubbock TX 79409
            Web Page:  http://faraday.clas.virginia.edu/~jrw6f