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Re: Wilkinson's new pterosaur paper, Cunningham, Habib



>The question is indeed what the inboard wing looked like. And it is certain.

>I attached (to Mike) seven photo examples of specimens that show what the 
>inboard wing looked like in situ. All show the same >pattern: narrow at the 
>elbow. When such a phylogenetic variety shows the same pattern it's pure 
>imagination to concoct any >other configuration. Yes, the wing has to attach 
>somewhere. It's the same place in all pterosaurs. And it works great!!

I actually agree that most, if not all, known pterosaurs probably had narrow 
chord wings.  What confused me was your use of the phrase "wingtip to elbow", 
which makes it sound like the inboard attachment is the *elbow*, which seemed 
odd.  I see now that you meant the wing passes close to the elbow, which I 
agree is perfectly reasonable given the current evidence from impressions and 
aerodynamic expectations.

>When you say you 'suspect' and 'I see no reason' you're telling us you're 
>working on gut instinct and tradition, not evidence. I >just sent Mike the 
>evidence of seven specimens, all contra the deep-wing paradigm.

Not quite what I meant; I was just saying that it seemed plausible given 
current knowledge of development of soft tissue in appendicular structures.  
Moving secondary condensation points is usually developmentally simple.  In any 
case, my paradigm is *not* that pterosaurs had wide chords; I strongly doubt 
it, in fact.  I was merely stating that the chords might vary within the clade. 
 I wouldn't expect all chords to be the same, though I do think the evidence 
supports a narrow chord for the vast majority of pterosaurs.  A few forest 
species might have had wider chords with a more distal hindlimb anchor point.  
Also possible for any taxa that were dedicated thermal soarers, though I have 
yet to see any that appear to be (at least to me).  Even in forest species that 
have some indication of a hindlimb patagial connection, I have considered the 
possibility that what appears to be some kind of brachiopatagium connection to 
the hindlimb in animals like Jeholopterus is actually tw
o overlapping patagia: the brachiopatagium proper (w/ a narrow chord) and a 
patagium anterior to the thigh (running to the thorax) to form a Fowler's 
slot/flap with the main wing (which is handy).

Thanks for the photos, by the way, I quite enjoyed them!

Cheers,

--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