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Re: Anurognathus questions

----- Original Message -----
From: "Michael Lovejoy" <michael@palaeoproductions.fsnet.co.uk>
To: "DML" <dinosaur@usc.edu>
Sent: Thursday, March 20, 2003 5:52 PM
Subject: Anurognathus questions

> Hopefully someone will be able to help with the following:
> 1. Is Anurognathus still only known from one specimen?

I am presently describing a second specimen that is complete and fully

> 2. Why is the head thought to be wide? (the type is preserved laterally)

My first reaction is"how wide?"  However, the skull is thought to be wide
because the skulls of the second specimen, the fragmentary skull of
Batrachognathus, and the crushed skulls of Jeholopterus and
Dendrorhynchoides are clearly wide.  You wrote:  "the type is preserved
laterally"--are you sure?

> 3. It is presumed to be an insectivore, but could it not just as easily be
> piscivore?

It is conceivable that it was a piscivore; however, the short wide skull
with short teeth would not be well suited to plucking fish out of the water.
The skull might be analogous to the short broad skulls of things like
goosefish and the plagiosaurs--well suited to ambush predation on fishes,
but I cannot imagine Anurognathus sprawled on the mucky bottom and waiting
for an unsuspecting minnow to wander by.  Aerial insectivory is a reasonable
interpretation of the ecological adaptations of Anuognathus.

> 4. Lastly, the ramphorynchoid long fifth toe. I've seen it restored
> free, and also with a web from toe four. Paul restores it stretcing a
> patagium between the hind limbs. So which interpretation is correct?

I don't think we know yet.  We have not found any specimen preserving clear,
unequivocal evidence as to the extent and attachments of the membranes.  We
have some specimens that provide some information, but there are still
differences of opinion as to how they should be interpreted.


S. Christopher Bennett, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Basic Sciences
College of Chiropractic
University of Bridgeport
Bridgeport, CT 06601-2449