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Re: Coelurosauravus: glider? or bluffer?

David Peters (davidrpeters@earthlink.net) wrote:

<I think this is tradition talking again. You can't imagine that old
picture of Coelurosauravus in Carroll 1988 with the ribspars sticking out
horizontally like an old-fashioned tv antenna. That reconstruction has
gone by the wayside. And it would be different if somehow the limbs were
involved, like Batman holding his cape in the movies.>

  Actually, I never paid attention to the model. I was speaking on
strictly biomechanical aspects, not restorations or "traditions." Not all
topics on flight evolution or variation are as simple as "new" versus
"traditional," and the various observations all have points that have to
be accounted for. I simply took on the biomechanical issues. The spars of
*Coelurosauravus* have NO conflict with the theory that they acted as a
support system for a membrane, as in *Draco* or *Icarosaurus,* based on
the evidence in the fossils. They may have been vertical, horizontal, or
even ventrally-dipping, for all I care, but they appear to have been
structurally capable of supporting a membrane stable and strong enough to
hold the animal aloft, much as the other lizards do (and *Draco* has a
relatively smaller "wing" system than either *Icarosaurus* or
*Coelurosauravus*). Whether it actually used the structures AS wings is
another matter, and one not so easily answerable, and I think no
photographic revisioning will change THIS particular fact. Morphology and
behavior may be linked, but fossils have a hard time telling us what
behaviors are being (or were capable of being) performed (much as in the
"sleeping" or "huddling" *Mei* holotype).


Jaime A. Headden

  Little steps are often the hardest to take.  We are too used to making leaps 
in the face of adversity, that a simple skip is so hard to do.  We should all 
learn to walk soft, walk small, see the world around us rather than zoom by it.

"Innocent, unbiased observation is a myth." --- P.B. Medawar (1969)

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