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re: the SVP pterosaur talks
Just a few notes ~
Larry Witmer talked about cat scan brain anatomy and its relation to
head posture. The variety in pteros evidently matches the variety in
birds and depends to a large part on the angle of the "horizontal"
vestibular apparatus within the skull. I don't remember him making
comparisons to Kellner's similar work with a Tapejara skull.
David Krauss talked about claw geometry as an indicator of terrestrial
and arboreal habits, but I did not hear him mention if he had included
the added length of the keratinous portion of the claw, which is
typically not preserved, in his calculations. He mentions that the
manual claws for suitable for perching (like to see that illustration),
but that the pedal claws were not. Does anyone have his email address?
Chris Bennett presented a new Solnhofen anurognathid and his
reconstruction of the skull. It looks like one of the best anurognathids
now known, but it is not Anurognathus. The sclerotic ring is large, the
lacrimal is a long slender stem (identified as the "pterygoid" on the
screen), and the lateral pedal digit is too short for Anurognathus, but
all these characters are a good fit for something closer to
Batrachognathus or Dendrorhynchoides. Chris's reconstruction included
some strange combination of lacrimal, nasal and jugal (if I remember
right) that resulted in making the antorbital fenestra virtually
disappear, but a more typical pterosaur skull can be recreated when the
lacrimal is properly placed.
Alex Kellner showed us more details about Thalassodromeus than his
recent Science article could. Does anyone remember this specimen from
the 1993 Discover magazine cover story on pterosaurs? Pretty impressive.
And almost ten years ago.
Laura Codorniú had a great poster featuring the juvenile Pterodaustro
flood/nest site specimens. What surprised me most was the length of the
tail. Still tiny, but over 20 verts and few of them disc-like.
David Smith had new Mesadactylus material. Still wishing for more.
There was also new Sahara pterosaur material (late entry, not in the
book) on display. It was presented, as I recall, as possible tapejarid
or anhanguerid material, but the great reduction of digit 3.2 and the
overall proportions of the wing (sorry, no measurements were taken)
reminded me more of a big germanodactylid, still a sister taxon.
In the prolacertiform camp, Tracy Ford presented new reconstructions of
the skull of Tanystropheus and provided new insight into its possible
lifestyle. There's more information on this bizarre character (the
reptile, not Tracy) coming soon.
Alex Downs wowed everyone with a weird pangolin-like reptile found
inside a Coelophysis pit. He was asking everyone "what is it?" Best
guess IMHO as to what it is puts it close to a basal prolacertiform,
Boreopricea ~ but on steroids! I'm fascinated to learn more about this
Best of all, I finally got to meet Mary, Mickey, T. Mike and a bunch of
other Dino Listers. Glad to be on board again.