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Re: Who says dromaeosaurs can't fly?




T. Michael Keesey wrote:

> Since when is _Rhamphorhynchus_' tail "diamond" vertically oriented? Did I 
> miss
> something? All the illustrations I've seen show it flatted dorsoventrally, the
> "wings" projecting laterally.

I think perhaps you may have missed something.  Insofar as I am aware, the
asymmetric tail diamond has been accepted as being vertically oriented for some
years now.  I've gradually come to the conclusion that one should not put too 
much
weight into positions and orientations shown in illustrations (no offense 
intended
to the many superb paleo artists who may read this).  An example of this is the 
3/4
frontal view of Q species in the June 2001 National Geographic where the neck 
was
deliberately made too short and the torso enlarged in order to fit the page
format.  I have no problem with that decision, and it is still a superb piece of
work.  Manfred Reichel is one who illustrated the Ramphorynchus tail diamond 
with
vertical orientation (page 169, Prehistoric Flying Reptiles, Wellnhofer).  Ernst
Stromer took the opposing view (page 170).  If one places it horizontally, then 
one
needs to explain the reason for the asymmetry.  Why would the animals want to
torque the tail about its long axis?