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Re: Wilkinson's new pterosaur paper

The two wing configurations 1) wingtip to elbow and 2) wingtip to thigh are fundamentally different. The first has its origin distally, like a bird. The other proximally, like a flying squirrel. You cannot have one AND the other in the same clade.

I'm not sure I understand you. The question, as I see it, is what the inboard wing looked like. The outboard wing is obviously a narrow chord structure in those species for whom we have impressions, but the inboard wing isn't known for certain. Now, I agree with the assertion that most were probably free of the hind limb, especially in large-bodied pterosaurs, but that is not at all certain.

I don't quite understand what you mean by "wingtip to elbow". The wing has to attach somewhere proximally. I suspect that it attached near the anterior edge of the ilium in most large pterosaurs, and perhaps to the thigh in some others (and perhaps the ankle in a few forest-dwelling taxa). I see no reason why multiple attach points cannot exist in the same clade. It would simply mean "sliding" the proximal insertion point developmentally. Hardly seems impossible, or even improbable.


--Mike H.

Michael Habib, M.S. PhD. Candidate Center for Functional Anatomy and Evolution Johns Hopkins School of Medicine 1830 E. Monument Street Baltimore, MD 21205 (443) 280 0181 habib@jhmi.edu