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Limb elements in flying vertebrates: pterosaurs, birds and bats.



From: Ben Creisler
bh480@scn.org

A new paper that apparently has not been mentioned yet:

BELL, E., ANDRES, B. and GOSWAMI, A. (2011).
Integration and dissociation of limb elements in flying vertebrates: a
comparison of pterosaurs, birds and bats. 
Journal of Evolutionary Biology (advance online publication)
doi: 10.1111/j.1420-9101.2011.02381.x
http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1420-9101.2011.02381.x/abstract

Abstract
Flapping flight has evolved independently in three vertebrate clades:
pterosaurs, birds and bats. Each clade has a unique flight mechanism
involving different elements of the forelimb. Here, patterns of limb
integration are examined using partial correlation analysis within species
and matrix correlation analysis across species to test whether the
evolution of flapping flight has involved developmental dissociation of the
serial homologues in the fore- and hind limb in each clade. Our sample
included seven species of birds, six species of bats, and three species of
pterosaurs for which sufficient sample sizes were available. Our results
showed that, in contrast to results previously reported for quadrupedal
mammals, none of the three clades demonstrated significant integration
between serial homologues in the fore- and hind limb. Unexpectedly, there
were few consistent patterns of within-forelimb correlations across each
clade, suggesting that wing integration is not strongly constrained by
functional relationships. However, there was significant integration within
the hind limbs of pterosaurs and birds, but not bats, possibly reflecting
the differing functions of hind limbs (e.g. upright support vs. suspension)
in these clades.



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