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RE: Wukongopterus and Darwinopterus

  As I mentioned, none of these taxa were placed in a single analysis together, 
so the lack of replicatability of various analyses is no surprise (it is like 
asking Marsh, Hatcher and Lull to have noted the distinctions in the 
*Centrosaurus*--*Pachyrhinosaurus* transition series!):  *Pterorhynchus* was 
only subjected to cladistic analysis by Lü et al, along with *Darwinopterus*;  
Wang et al. mentioned but did not include *Pterorhynchus* while analyzing 
*Wukongopterus*, but at this time it is likely that the authors were not aware 
or and/or did not have time to analyze *Darwinopterus* as I am sure even by the 
time of SVP[CA], their paper was beyond the proof stage (major assumption).

  I am not even getting into the taxonomic differences between the analysis and 
their other included/excluded non-pterodactyloid/dsunjaripteroid/whatever-oid 
taxa.  Hopefully, this transition, which now has two new members -- and one 
recently new-ish -- can be better studied in detail, and whether it is 
convergent in any aspect, or the features which describe their anatomy are 
truly "transitional" in aspect, can be resolved to decent confidence.


Jaime A. Headden

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> Date: Mon, 16 Nov 2009 08:11:46 -0800
> From: davidpeters@att.net
> To: dmu1@leicester.ac.uk; dinosaur@usc.edu; kellner@mn.ufrj.br
> Subject: re: Wukongopterus and Darwinopterus
> David Unwin reported: "Wukongopterus was collected from the same locality as 
> Darwinopterus and in a rerun of our (i.e. Lü et al. 2009) phylogenetic 
> analysis that included this taxon it paired with Darwinopterus in a well 
> supported sister group relationship with Pterodactyloidea. "
> Indeed! Shall we keep Wukungopterus and Darwinopterus separate for awhile? 
> Or, which came first according to the rule book?
> Interesting that the nesting of these taxa cannot be duplicated by competing 
> studies. Something to work on!
> One study (Wang et al) places Wukongopterus as the sister to Dorygnathus and 
> outside a clade that includes Eudimorphodon, Dimorphodon and all 
> pterodactyloids. Their tree had 140,000+ solutions. Deleting Scleromochlus 
> and several incomplete taxa reduced this number to 15,800+ MPTs.
> One study (Lu et al.) places them between basal taxa and Pterodactyloidea, 
> but with 500,000+ solutions or MPTs.
> One (unpublished) places them in the midst of several germanodactylids, 
> apomorphies and all. This tree had one solution or MPT despite (or due to) 
> being twice as as large as competing studies and including incomplete taxa. 
> All the outgroups in this study gradually added pterosaurian characters. All 
> the outgroups in the Wang and Lu studies did not.
> Hopefully this will prove to be a watershed moment when we all come together 
> on these two very interesting and completely articulated specimens likely of 
> the same genus.
> It's also time to get back to those microscopes and dissolving agents to find 
> more long tails and elongated fifth toes!
> David Peters
> davidpeters@att.net
> cc: DL, DU, AK
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