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Papers on pterosaur and _Sharovipteryx_ wings

David Peters will probably be wanting to get out 'Old Red' for these

G. J. DYKE, R. L. NUDDS & J. M. V. RAYNER. 2006. Flight of Sharovipteryx
mirabilis: the world's first delta-winged glider. Journal of
Evolutionary Biology 19 (4): 1040-1043.

'The 225 million-year-old reptile Sharovipteryx mirabilis was the
world's first delta-winged glider; this remarkable animal had a flight
surface composed entirely of a hind-limb membrane. We use standard
delta-wing aerodynamics to reconstruct the flight of S. mirabilis
demonstrating that wing shape could have been controlled simply by
protraction of the femora at the knees, and by variation in incidence of
a small forelimb canard. Our method has allowed us to address the
question of how identifying realistic glide performance can be used to
set limits on aerodynamic design in this small animal. Our novel
interpretation of the bizarre flight mode of S. mirabilis is the first
based directly on interpretation of the fossil itself and the first
grounded in aerodynamics.'

G. J. DYKE, R. L. NUDDS & J. M. V. RAYNER. 2006. Limb disparity and wing
shape in pterosaurs. Journal of Evolutionary Biology 19 (4): 1339-1342.

'The limb proportions of the extinct flying pterosaurs were clearly
distinct from their living counterparts, birds and bats. Within
pterosaurs, however, we show that further differences in limb
proportions exist between the two main groups: the clade of short-tailed
Pterodactyloidea and the paraphyletic clades of long-tailed
rhamphorhynchoids. The hindlimb to forelimb ratios of rhamphorhynchoid
pterosaurs are similar to that seen in bats, whereas those of
pterodactyloids are much higher. Such a clear difference in limb ratios
indicates that the extent of the wing membrane in rhamphorhynchoids and
pterodactyloids may also have differed; this is borne out by simple
ternary analyses. Further, analyses also indicate that the limbs of
Sordes pilosus, a well-preserved small taxon used as key evidence for
inferring the extent and shape of the wing membrane in all pterosaurs,
are not typical even of its closest relatives, other rhamphorhynchoids.
Thus, a bat-like extensive hindlimb flight membrane, integrated with the
feet and tail may be applicable only to a small subset of pterosaur
diversity. The range of flight morphologies seen in these extinct
reptiles may prove much broader than previously thought.'


        Christopher Taylor

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