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The Glissant Amniotes

Nick Longrich wrote:

<Ruben has interpreted Megalancosaurus as a glider but
I don't see any osteological correlates to gliding
present, if one can even find osteological correlates
to gliding (if there are I'd love to know).>

  Ruben et al. do this, to my knowledge, based on the
aviform skull, rather than any gliding adaptation
percieved, along with such other aviform taxa like
*Cosesaurus*. However, quite a few gliding taxa
actually possess corrolary skeletal features,
including a non-prehensile tail, a unique lunate
sesamoid either from the elbow or wrist that supports
the leading edge of a "gliding" membrane; the body
tends to be broader than deep, so that ventral surface
area is not compromised by a more cynlindrical form,
increasing ventral surface area. Very well-hooked
claws for grasping braches. Almost no terrestrial
adaptations in the limbs, due to increased arboreality
and glissantry [this is, by the way, the scientific
term for gliding]. Known in sugar gliders
(Phalangeridae, spec. *Phalanger*, which Renesto
(1994) compared directly to the pes of
*Megalancosaurus*), and rodents (Gliridae, Eomyidae,
Anomaluridae, and Sciuridae) [see Storch, Engesser,
and Wuttke, 1996].


Storch, G.; Engesser, B.; and Wuttke, M. 1996. Oldest
fossil record of gliding in rodents. _Nature_ 379:

Renesto, S. 1994. *Megalancosaurus*, a possibly
arboral archosauromorph (Reptilia) from the Upper
Triassic of northern Italy. _Journal of Vertebrate
Paleontology_ 14 (1): 38-52.

Jaime "James" A. Headden

"Come the path that leads us to our fortune."

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