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Re: Bat wing digits (was Re: Tiktaalik)
David Peters wrote:
Everyone looking for transitional forms in bats has been staring too long
at the wings and not looking at all at the rest of the bat. Same thing
happened in pterosaurs awhile back and some guy without a PhD figured out
the phylogeny based on the feet.
Who is this guy? He must be an exceedingly modest and retiring fellow,
because I've never heard of him. Anyway, whomever he is, I hope he
publishes his research in a peer-reviewed scientific journal so we can all
get to see his work, and evaluate it for ourselves.
BTW, the thing about cladistic analysis is that it aims to construct
phylogenetic hypotheses based on many characters, drawn from all parts of
the body. So an exlusively foot-based phylogeny of pterosaurs is as useless
as an exclusively wing-based phylogeny of bats.
In any case, as Jaime said, Sears &c are not using the wings of bats to
reconstruct chiropteran phylogeny, or to identify the sister taxon of the
Chiroptera; their work aims to explain the developmental basis of finger
elongation, and its potential role in the evolution of the chiropteran wing.
So far, the fossil record is holding its cards close to its chest with
regards to the origin of bats, and the identity of the chiropteran sister
taxon. Alas, the same is also true of the Pterosauria... for the time