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Re: looking for illustration

Yup, I agree. Frankly, it's almost surprising that we have any named giant 
azhdarchid taxa at all given that the material is so fragmentary and often 
represents poorly diagnosable skeletal components. I wonder if we should only 
really talk about 'generic' giant azhdarchids - as Mike and Jim point out, 
there's presently not enough overlapping material to make meaningful 
comparisons between forms. We can't say, for instance, that Hatzegopteryx is 
more robust than Quetzalcoatlus, say, or that Arambourgiania has a longer neck 
or whatever. 

Just to rain on the parade even more, I've recently spent a lot of time with 
casts of the Hatzegopteryx holotype material: it represents, so far as I can 
see, an animal identical in size to Q. northropi. I have a template of how 
large, roughly, the upper arm of a 12 m span pterosaur should be and the 
Hatzegopteryx arm material _swims_ around it, man: there's no way it sported 6 
m wings unless it defied all scaling trends we see in other pterosaurs or had 
very different proportions to all other azhdarchids. Given that there's no 
evidence for either, I think we have to accept the lower of the published 
figures of this animal (10 m). What's more, the skull, championed as being 
half-a-metre wide (though I suspect it's more in the 40 cm ballpark) may not be 
much larger than we should expect in a big Quetzalcoatlus. So, all the talk and 
fantastic images of 12 m span pterosaurs may, for the time being, be the stuff 
of fancy. Still, as anyone who's ever seen a fully realised model of a 10 m 
span azhdarchid can confirm, a 10 m is _plenty_ big enough. 


Dr. Mark Witton

Palaeobiology Research Group
School of Earth and Environmental Sciences
University of Portsmouth
Burnaby Building
Burnaby Road

Tel: (44)2392 842418
E-mail: Mark.Witton@port.ac.uk
>>> "jrc" <jrccea@bellsouth.net> 02/08/09 3:42 AM >>>
I agree with Mike re the possibility that all may be the same species.  And, 
as he says, for animals that can travel 600 miles in a day, geographic 
separation isn't much of an issue.

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Mike Habib" <habib@jhmi.edu>
To: <mike@indexdata.com>
Cc: <soylentgreenistrex@yahoo.com>; <dinosaur@usc.edu>
Sent: Saturday, August 01, 2009 5:11 PM
Subject: Re: looking for illustration

>> Upshot: we have three big azhdarchids that are very similar in size,
> and could be congeneric (or even the same species, to be honest - the 
> geographic separations are meaningless for a flap-glider of that  size), 
> of which only Quetzalcoatlus has much material.  Therefore, 
> reconstructions of giant azhdarchs are still best done using Quetz.
> Cheers,
> --Mike