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Re: Did pterosaurs feed by skimming?
Mark said it very well. I might add that there is a possibility that the
long, recurved pedal claws may have been associated with take-off traction
from soft, slippery surfaces. For those of us (like me) who tend to prefer
hindlimbs seperate from the wing membrane, the hindlimbs and/or uropatagium
are still associated with flight command authority so, for both hindlimb
scenarios, using the pes for grasping prey during flight would severely
compromise the ability to fly (except to the crash site -- it would greatly
----- Original Message -----
From: "Mark Witton" <Mark.Witton@port.ac.uk>
To: <firstname.lastname@example.org>; <email@example.com>
Sent: Thursday, July 26, 2007 9:33 AM
Subject: Re: Did pterosaurs feed by skimming?
and their foot bones are generally slender anyway,
implying they weren't used in any apprehensive fashion. However, this is
not to say that some pterosaurs don't have well-developed pedal claws:
UV light on Pterodactylus and tapejarid material from the Solnhofen and
Crato limestones show that some pterosaurs had enormous, recurved claws
on their feet. They are relatively slender despite their length though,
so any pterosaur trying to grab struggling prey with claws like these
might've done more damage to itself than it would to its prey.
One more word on this: if, like me, you're a broad-wing proponent, you
might find it hard to imagine a pterosaur employing pedal apprehension
of aerial prey at least without compromising the wing membrane, an
action unlikely to increase the chance of prey acquisition at best. I
suppose you could still drop, hawk-style, onto an unbearably cute
Mesozoic bunny analogue, but then the points above come into play.