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RE: Nemicolopterus

Quoting Tim Williams <twilliams_alpha@hotmail.com>:

Yep, the picture is amazing.

However, the idea that _Nemicolopterus_ was either (a) a percher, or (b) an insect-eater is not exactly compelling.

True. Also, even if the authors' ecologial interpretations are all correct, their contention that "[t]he phylogenetic position of Nemicolopterus crypticus
suggests that the Ornithocheiroidea originated from crestless and toothless small insectivorous arboreal forms" is tenuous, since it's just as parsimonious to hypothesize that pterosaurs were big honkers all the way back to the base of Pterodactyloidea, with _N._ representing a specialized arboreal lineage with reduced body size.

Wait, now that I read that again, are they really suggesting that istiodactylids, ornithocheirids, and dsungaripterids came from toothless ancestors???

As for insectivory, the skull of _Nemicolopterus_ is long and slender, not broad and wide (as in anurognathids). Anurognathids have been interpreted as aerial insectivores (i.e., catching flying insects on the wing) - like the modern frogmouth (which is essentially what "Anurognathus" means).



Nicholas J. Pharris
Department of Linguistics
Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology
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D-04103 Leipzig         fax:      +49 (0) 341 35 50 333
Germany                 e-mail:   nicholas_pharris@eva.mpg.de

"Creativity is the sudden cessation of stupidity."
    --Edwin H. Land