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PTEROSAURS WERE 'HAIRY'
> Except - is it now universally agreed that pterosaurs DID have a
> dermal covering? I thought that some people had argued that the
> remains were stiffening fibres inside the wing membrane.
Following work by David Unwin and Natalie Bakhurina (1994) on the
exceptionally well-preserved wing membranes of the Russian pterosaur
_Sordes_, a number of popular articles from earlier this decade
wrote off **all** pterosaur fibres and 'hair' as wing-stiffening
fibres (aktinofibrils). However, this was a mistake: Unwin himself
later made it plain that he was certainly not arguing for the absence
of fur-like integument in the _Sordes_ specimens as it is clearly
present (and clearly different from the two kinds of aktinofibrils
observed in the wing membrane). Also, no one has ever written off
the follicles, hair bundles and single hairs preserved with
_Rhamphorhynchus_ as described by Leich (1964) and Wellnhofer (1975).
(Take note Alan Feduccia, who relied on the popular articles for his
For the latest word on this subject, see Frey, E. and Martill, D.M.
1998. Soft tissue preservation in a specimen of _Pterodactylus kochi_
(Wagner) from the Upper Jurassic of Germany. _Neues Jahrbuch fur
Geologie und Palaontologie, Abhandlungen 210: 421-441. The specimen
they describe clearly has masses of hair-like bristles posterior to
the neck vertebrae: certainly, there is no way these structures could
have been integrated into the patagia! This is also the paper where
Dino and Dave suggest that pterosaur 'hair' should not be called
hair, but 'hair' (in fact, Dave in person actually calls it
'hairoid'). I'd also like to say that I've seen pterosaur 'hair'
myself on Crato specimens - in cases, it is well differentiated from
the patagia and can be clearly discerned as individual, and
occasionally very elongate, fibres.
Apologies to all who are awaiting emails from me, I will reply
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