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Wing-bone proportions can identify different Santana Group pterosaurs



From: Ben Creisler
bcreisler@gmail.com

A new online paper:


Bruno Cavalcanti Vila Nova & Juliana Manso Sayão (2012)
On wing disparity and morphological variation of the Santana Group pterosaurs.
Historical Biology (advance online publication)
DOI:10.1080/08912963.2012.658386
http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/08912963.2012.658386


Pterosaurs were widely spread throughout the Mesozoic Era, populating
the whole world. Among this great diversity, two groups are commonly
found in Brazil: the Anhangueridae and Tapejaridae. These can be
mainly identified by cranial synapomorphies. However, because of the
fragility of the pterosaur skeleton and rarity of the fossilisation
process, the fossils found are usually incomplete, which hampers a
proper taxonomic identification of the specimens. The specific
proportions of these two groups of pterosaurs were obtained from
bibliographic data and measurements of specimens. Eight
Anhangueridae-like and seven Tapejaridae were used: Anhanguera
piscator, Anhanguera santanae, Anhanguera spielbergi, Araripesaurus
castilhoi, Barbosania gracilisrostris and three Anhangueridae sp.
indet.; Sinopterus dongi, Tapejara wellnhoferi and five Tapejaridae
sp. indet. We find that proportions of the humerus, wing metacarpal,
first phalanx of the wing digit, femur and tibia are sufficient to
identify partial remains of Araripe pterosaurs. A principal component
analysis shows that each clade has different, non-overlapping scores
in the studied ratios and these can be used with precision. Specific
bone ratios for fast identification of anhanguerids and tapejarids are
given, opening a broader way to diagnostic fragmentary bones.