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Hone and Benton 2009, quick hit

Just wrote a long letter to Prof. Mike Benton and David Hone after reading Hone and Benton, 2009, their contribution to Zitteliana 28.

Had to defend Cosesaurus and kin once again.

In short, they wrote a paper against the placement of pterosaurs in the Prolacertiformes, a position I fostered in 2000 and defend to this day. And, incredibly, they pulled it off without mentioning or referencing Peters 2000 even once (ala Unwin 2004, Pterosaurs from Deep Time). They compounded their sin and created their straw dog when they reported that Bennett 1996 placed pterosaurs near or in Prolacertiformes, when he did neither. Then they scored 229 of 324 characters with a question mark for both Langobardisaurus and Cosesaurus, two virtually complete and articulated pterosaur sister candidate fossils, which is intolerable, but perhaps permitted because... They were excused from actually examining the fossils by creating a supertree matrix and the rules say you just deal with the data points there. They self-confessed the only supertree they used that actually had pterosaurs in it was that of Bennett 1996. So you wonder how pterosaurs nested where they did...

To readers of the DML, this is old territory. Anyone interested in the gory details can write me.

re: Contrasting supertree and total-evidence methods: the origin of the pterosaurs, Zitteliana 28, pp. 35-60, 2009
By David W. E. Hone & Michael J. Benton

David Peters

PS. Still glad that Sobral and Langer 2008 were brave enough to test Langobardisaurus, Cosesaurus and kin and found them to nest with pterosaurs.