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Re: Cope's Rule in the Pterosauria - Hone & Benton 2007

Michael Habib wrote:

True. Furthermore, I am personally a bit perplexed how pervasive the "competitive exclusion by other flying vertebrates" concept is.

Yes. I tend to think that the ecological niches of birds and pterosaurs did overlap in the Cretaceous, and maybe even earlier. There may even have been some stiff competition between the two, though it may not have been a general rule. Insect-eating micro-bats and caprimulgiforms (frogmouths &c) co-exist in today's world.

It's not a bad concept, per se, but it is a little vague.

I agree. After all, terms like "fish-eating"/"piscivory" and "insect-eating"/"insectivory" tend to be very expansive. For example, for insectivorous birds and pterosaurs back in the Cretaceous (and earlier?), there were plenty of insects around, and they came in all shapes and sizes.

Most definitely. And, it turns out that there are certain structural features of the forelimbs that are common amongst avian aerial hawkers that I suspect will be diagnostic for that ecomorph in pterosaurs as well (as they are related to the mechanics of that particular flight regime).

Here's a start...




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