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Re: Anurognathus dorsal frill

Nick Gardner wrote:

> >
> I think it would be wise to gain access to the materials or casts of the
> materials in question before publishing such information.  Afterall, it
> couldn't hurt to try, or at least get really high-quality photographs or
> talk to someone about if they might put one of the fossils on a scanner and
> scan it in for you.  It doesn't sound like it is likely they (or anyone
> else) would, but one can always ask.

I have had Longisquama and Sharovipteryx in my hands and retain photographs of
both. I hope that eases one of your concerns. The problem is recognition. The
material has been always been visible. There has just been this paradigm that
we all believed in that said the back half of L. was missing. It might stem
from the low quality drawings of Sharov in '70 and '71. Low quality drawings
are injurious to pterosaur study and yet, even in this new era, low quality
drawings are the accepted norm. I want to raise the bar. I want to see more
detail. And I want to see reconstructions in which all of the pieces fit

Sometimes, as a scientist, you just have to test with any and all instruments
at your command. New things are popping out with uv. Why not just boost the
contrast on a photo? You can't do that with the actual specimen. And you can't
make transparent tracings. Your stuck with a pencil and a prism if you follow
accepted time-tested strategies. We have to raise the minimums. A computer
makes it all possible.

> >I wrote to a leading expert on pterosaur aerodynamics early on and asked
> >for his opinion on the subject - how would such a structure affect
> >flight, etc. Still waiting for an answer on that one. Since it was
> >totally unexpected and still paradigm-shaking, I don't mind that it
> >takes some time to arrive at a carefully considered answer. No doubt it
> >was a display structure. Sailfish may have an analogous structure and
> >they are among the fastest fish in the sea. I have not seen a pterosaur
> >dorsal frill that was anything less than completely erect.
> >
> I'd be concerned that if it was indeed a frill, that it might not be
> advantageous to flight considering that it might flap (like a flag on the
> back of a car) around.
> Nick Gardner
> Paleoartist
> AIM CloudRaptor05

I wondered about this as well, but the example of a sailfish suggests that
that problem is no problem.