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Re: Dragons Of The Air



bpettit wrote:
> 
> Many years ago, I found a book in an avaiation book store in London.
> Title is "Dragons Of The Air"; author is H.G. Seeley; pub date is 1901.
> It is subtitled "An Account Of Extinct Flying Reptiles."  It's been in
> my bookcase for years and just recently I noticed it and remembered I
> never finished reading it. (For those from England on the list, the
> price is 32/, then repriced to 1.60 pounds, which means I must have
> bought it when metric first came in.  I was in England from '68 to '72.)
> 
> I have a few questions about the book and also the contents, if anybody
> cann help me.  First, is the book of any value?  By value, I mean is the
> material so dated as to be totally useless?  

My strictly amateur's opinion is that the drawings, sketches, and
anatomical data is probably still accurate. So, most likely, are many of
the genus and species names.  I'd guess that classifications are
probably obsolete, although as far as I know pterosaur taxonomy has
never undergone any sweeping changes like dinosaur taxonomy has.

> In fact, given the age, I'm assuming that everything in the book is a
> curiosity - that recent research has revised most of the analyses and
> conclusions.  So what contemporary material is available?  Has anybody
> written a book or books on Pteradons during the 1990's?  Are there any
> recommendations for reading from the dinosaur list?

THE ILLUSTRATED ENCYCLOPEDIA OF PTEROSAURS, Peter Wellnhofer, c. 1991
from Salamnder Books.  Companion volume to THE ILLUSTRATED ENCYCLOPEDIA
OF DINOSAURS, and IMHO substantially better than the dino book. 
Wellnhofer reproduces several pieces of artwork from the very book
you're talking about, Harry G. Seeley's DRAGONS OF THE AIR.  

> A specific question is around Rhamphorhynchus phyllurus.  It is given as
> from the Solenhofen slate.  I didn't know that Pterdactyles (his
> spelling) were found at Solenhofen.  Have these specimens all been
> reclassified?  My first assumption is that I'm not aware of everything
> published on the subject.

Many, many pterosaurs have come from the Solnhofen limestone quarries. 
Many superbly preserved pterosaurs, including a few rivaling the Berlin
_Archaeopteryx_ in degree of preservation.  In fact, the very first
pterosaur specimen, _Pterodactylus_, was found in the Solnhofen.

> But that brings up my next question: what is the acknowledged overlap
> between true feathered species vs membraned species?  Is there a long
> record of overlap with both types coexisting?

"Feathered species" meaning birds?  No pterosaur ever had feathers. 
_Sordes pilosus_ is supposed to have had a hairlike outer covering, but
I think that's still open to question.  Pterosaurs were common pretty
much throughout the Jurassic and Cretaceous, until they were also wiped
out by the K-T event.  They would have coexisted with birds throughout
the Cretaceous.

-- JSW