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Re: birds and pterosaurs

> Date: Sat, 08 Oct 2005 14:21:14 -0400
> From: brushes2@juno.com
> In their article "Pterosaur diversity and faunal turnover in
> Cretaceous terrestrial ecosystems in China (Nature437:875-879) Wang,
> et al., discuss ecological relationships between pterosaurs and
> birds. They occur sympatrically and both fly. the authors suggest
> "...that the avian fauna of the Lower Cretaceous--and perhaps most
> of the Mesozoic era--was more confined to terrestrial, inland
> regions, whereas pterosaurs dominated the coastal areas."  They
> worked in the Yixian formation.

Who?  The pterosaurs?


Seriously, this sort of very-high-level partitioning seems pretty
nonsensical to me.  Given the huge morphological diversity of both
these clades, proposing that pterosaurs preferred shorelines and birds
preferred inland areas seems like suggesting a similar distinction
between, say, mammals and "reptiles".  In reality there will surely be
many members of both groups living in each environment.

(I have similar misgivings about the old argument about aquatic
sauropods.  Given that multiple lines of evidence have pretty firmly
established that many sauropods were primarily terrestrial, that in no
way precludes the possibility that some members of this huge clade may
have been primarily aquatic -- just as hippos are, despite being part
of the primarily terrestrial artiodactyl clade.)

 _/|_    ___________________________________________________________________
/o ) \/  Mike Taylor  <mike@miketaylor.org.uk>  http://www.miketaylor.org.uk
)_v__/\  "When you talk about your troubles, your ailments, your diseases,
         your hurts, you give longer life to what makes you unhappy" --
         Thomas Dreier.