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Re: Pterosaur wing membranes
If Darren is referring to the photos that I've seen, they were
ambiguous at best about an ankle attachment....
One confounding issue that has occurred to myself (and others before
me) is that there could be membrane attached to the lateral portion of
the hindlimbs, without that section of patagium actually attaching to
the forelimb as well. If the animal folds up enough before burial, the
difference between the different sections of membrane would be
difficult to make out in the resulting fossil.
But, they sure are counterproductive for animals that are making use
of dynamic soaring rather than convective soaring.
There is also the possibility that some very early pterosaurs, or even
immediate pterosaur ancestors, had a broad-wing type patagium that ran
from forelimb to hindlimb. The attachment site might have been
constrained after this, with phylogenetic inertia maintaining the
hindlimb attachment. This would lead to the retention of a narrow
'fillet' (as has already been discussed as a model), when the wing
chord reduced under selection for dynamic soaring ability. That is, in
fact, probably the most likely explanation for a 'fillet' design,
should it prove accurate.