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Re: Sky Monsters - Nat. Geo. channel



On 1/23/06, david peters <davidrpeters@earthlink.net> wrote:

> Also, I wonder why the preview stated that "we don't have a clue about how 
> they evolved." To my knowledge, we've known that for 5 years. Or if you want 
> to go the archosaur route, why not show Scleromochlus? That's been a favorite 
> for decades.

Actually I think that intent of the phase is correct, albeit somewhat
badly phrased,  we really don't *know* how pterosaurus evolved.
There are clues in fact but they're all too sparse.
We do know from whence they came, whichever is your pet theory, but
how did they get to their volant state is pretty unknown. Of couse we
have adaptational stories garnered from Cenozoic examples such as
bats, which would suffer as severely from the same problem if it
weren't for colugos. But where is the pterosaurian colugo? Even bats,
with Icaronycteris and its ilk, seem pretty much finished in general
design by the time we find fossils of them.
By what I know the propurted basal-most pterosaur, Preondactylus
buffarinii, is an accomplished flyer. To find a early or mid-Triassic
Liaoning would perhaps resolve this problem but until then.
------

As usual I did a bit of research after writing this mail to make sure
I wasn't making a fool of myself (if I am not already) and found
something odd about Preondactylus: The wingspan is stated as 1,5 m but
the weight is put at 10 kg, and my working knowledge of flying
creatures, birds mainly, tells me the animal should weigh at least 6
or 8 times less.

Renato Santos

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