[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index][Subject Index][Author Index]
[This was sent a few days ago, Technical glitch evidently prevented
its reception. A few minor changes added.]
Free Darwinopterus download:
First of all, congratulations to the Lü team for a series of
spectacular finds. The uncovering of that tail and toe is incredible.
Second, I'm disappointed that more taxa were not included in the
analysis. And I'm also disappointed to read this from the
Suppplmentary Data: "The search was terminated at 500,000 trees due to
memory limitations." That's a sign that something is wrong. The Lü
study needs to use more of the available taxa.
Yes, Darwinopterus is, as it appears, a sort of Germanodactylus AND
unique enough to merit it's own genus. On the same note, lots of
nominal Germanodactylus specimens need their own genus. They have a
wonderful untold variety.
When you include more taxa than the Lü team included, Darwinopterus
nests nowhere near any of the four origins of the pterodactyloid
clade. Darwinopeterus nests in the middle of several nominial
Germanodactylus specimens and very close to the Karlsruhe specimen,
SMNK-PAL 6592, ironically known for its long metacarpals and long
legs. And there's a reason for that...but that involves other long-
On a happy note: I see that Scaphognathus and Dorygnathus are moving
up the ranks, FINALLY, closing in as sister taxa to the
Pterodactyloidea! THAT is new and THAT is starting to match earlier
findings (published as an abstract (Peters 2007) in the Flugsaurier
papers). Just add several tiny taxa, several specimens of Dorygnathus
and Scaphognathus and a few dozen more characters and all will resolve
to a single tree.
Third, while the short metacarpal/ulna ratio is VERY rare, it also
occurs 7 taxa down from Darwinopterus in SMF a. M. No. 4072, and
Mesadactylus by convergence and both of these have ratios atypically
shorter than surrounding sister taxa. So such a character is not
unique within Pterodactyloidea. I see neither tiny taxon was included
in the Lü team study.
The reduction of the metacarpal/ulna ratio in Darwinopterus is matched
by a rare ulna > tibia character state, also found by convergence in
SMF a. M. No. 4072 and B St 1967 I 276 (also by convergence in
ornithocheirids and nyctosaurs)- but in no sister taxa. So, in
Darwinopterus (judging by surrounding Germanodactylus taxa), as the
legs became shorter so did the metacarpals, both of which are derived
according to the larger suite of characters. Note: such unique
characters are STILL not enough to make them sister taxa.
The opposite holds true for those long-legged, long-metacarpal taxa,
but there's an untold twist in Pteranodon and Nyctosaurus.
Fourth, while the elongated pedal digit V is great to see finally
published, you'll find similar pedal digit Vs on MOST pterodactyloid-
grade pterosaurs when you look for them. Like Darwinopterus, most of
these are tucked under the metatarsus. Yes, most Pteraichnus
trackmakers have short pedal digit Vs and they all come from just a
few clades, even so, there are some surprises.
Fifth, the long tail and fifth toe can be seen on several
Germanodactylus specimens, but at present you have to look for the
telltale ridge in the light matrix covering. I can send samples for
where to look. My sense is this is a reversal in germanodactylids
because predecessor taxa (most small forms) have a long tail, but it
is not nearly as robust. It's wonderful that such a tail and toe has
finally been uncovered and published. Now I don't have to explain as
hard when I show the same in reconstructions. It's also time to take
certain specimens off the walls and dig out the toes and tails!
I wish the Lü team best wishes and again, congratulations on a great
and extremely important find.