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RE: Combined answer Archaeopteryx running...

Jim Cunningham wrote:

> >
> >The 4th manual digit was integrated into the pterosaur flight surface.
> >It's indispensable in this respect.
>The 3 free fingers were never absorbed into the flight surface.  They
>constituted the hand, which remained free.  

True, the three "inner" digits remained free (in those pterosaurs that had
'em), but the rest of the hand formed part of the skeletal framework for the
wing, especially the super-long fourth digit.  I'd love to know at what
stage the hands of pterosaur ancestors became part of the wing - before,
after, or during the acquisition of sustained flight.  Ahh, for a time




Timothy J. Williams 

USDA-ARS Researcher 
Agronomy Hall 
Iowa State University 
Ames IA 50014 

Phone: 515 294 9233 
Fax:   515 294 3163