"I would have liked to see material lists for taxa, diagnoses, references,
comparisons of taxonomy, etc.. Maybe those will be added in the future?"
I must admit, I did want to make each article fully referenced, but other members of the team thought it may make the site look less approachable, so they were voted out. There is, I suppose, still scope to put them in, however.
As for a material list, I'm going out on a limb to say that this almost
certainly won't happen. This is not because I think it's a bad idea, but
because, as anyone who's ever tried to compile such a list will know, it would
be a huge undertaking and I really doubt that any Pterosaur.net contributor has
the time to do it. Besides, my interpretation of the Pterosaur.net idea (and my
colleagues can correct me if I'm wrong) was that we were making an approachable
and relatively non-technical website that would appeal to layfolk as much as
experts and, accordingly, such a list may seem out of place amidst the more
relaxed attitude across the rest of the site. I could, of course, be totally
wrong and one of the team may decide they're more than up for the challenge,
but given how long it took us to assemble what you can currently see at
Pterosaur.net, I wouldn't hold your breath. There may be scope for more
detailed discussions of taxonomy and the diagnoses of different groups,
however: we are quite light on such topics at the moment. Watch this, or rather
that, space, I suppose.
Dr. Mark Witton
Palaeobiology Research Group
School of Earth and Environmental Sciences
University of Portsmouth
Tel: (44)2392 842418
Michael Mortimer <email@example.com> 15/01/2010 01:02 >>>
David Peters wrote-
All in all it sounds like no one has cared enough or was persistent enough, to find the lineage of taxa that really demonstrates an increasing number of pterosaur synapomorphies. Seems like anyone, even an amateur, could find a lineage that was closer to pterosaurs than the vague enigmas that are presented here.
What is really a shame is the two studies that claimed to figure this out once and
for all (Hone and Benton, 2007, 2008) came to their conclusions by ousting the
other candidates, rather than testing them head to head and toe to toe. Yes, it was
a supermatrix, but Hone & Benton chose that route when they could have chosen
to actually look at the specimens. Too bad that study also failed to find a
distinct lineage of proto-pterosaurs.
I have to agree with David that Pterosaur.net is disappointingly vague
regarding pterosaur origins. I would have enjoyed seeing the synapomorphies
shared with protorosaurs vs. dinosauromorphs, as opposed to just claiming
things are uncertain. But then again, I would have liked to see material lists
for taxa, diagnoses, references, comparisons of taxonomy, etc.. Maybe those
will be added in the future?
What was especially problematic about Hone and Benton (2008) is that their matrix contains repeated taxa. For instance, Lepidosauromorpha is an OTU, but so are Gephyrosaurus, Sphenodontia and Squamata (which ARE Lepidosauromorpha). Similarly, Choristodera is an OTU, but so are Champsosaurus, Lazurussuchus and Cteniogenys (which ARE Choristodera). By itself, this only indicates laziness or taxonomic unfamiliarity on the authors' part, but what's disturbing is that the lepidosauromorphs do not clade with Lepidosauromorpha, and the choristoderes do not clade with Choristodera. Instead, choristoderes form a clade which is closer to other archosauromorphs than Choristodera (with 100% bootstrap support). Similarly, lepidosauromorphs form a clade two nodes more derived than Lepidosauromorpha (with Younginia in between them, both nodes supported with 100% bootstrap values). So if the supermatrix couldn't get lizards to clade with themselves, what's the liklihood it got pterosaurs to clade with their real sister taxon?