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Re: [dinosaur] Confuciusornis cranial morphology



Sally-striking foraging behavior fits with the aspect ratio of
_Confuciusornis_ wings.  Wide, broad wings confer high maneuverability
(Falk et al. 2016 doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0167284), which would
be essential for snatching flying insects out of the air.  As
Elzanowski &c note, sally-strikes could be launched from either the
ground or an arboreal perch.  However, contra Elzanowski &c, it would
not have been necessary for _Confuciusornis_ to climb trees in order
to reach a perch, given the likelihood that it could take off from the
ground (e.g. Dececchi & Larsson 2011
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0022292).  In any case, the manus of
_Confuciusornis_ was highly unsuitable for tree-climbing (e.g., Peters
& Ji 1999 J.Ornithol. 140:41-50; Chiappe et al. 1999 Bull. AMNH
242:1-89, etc).

On Tue, Apr 10, 2018 at 7:36 AM, Ben Creisler <bcreisler@gmail.com> wrote:
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> Ben Creisler
> bcreisler@gmail.com
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> A new paper:
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> Andrzej Elzanowski, D. Stefan Peters & Gerald Mayr (2018)
> Cranial morphology of the Early Cretaceous bird Confuciusornis.
> Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology Article: e1439832
> DOI: 10.1080/02724634.2018.1439832.
> https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=https-3A__www.tandfonline.com_doi_full_10.1080_02724634.2018.1439832&d=DwIFaQ&c=clK7kQUTWtAVEOVIgvi0NU5BOUHhpN0H8p7CSfnc_gI&r=Ry_mO4IFaUmGof_Yl9MyZgecRCKHn5g4z1CYJgFW9SI&m=0GAJyNuAp8oHra3hqdHqNpJl8L-7SHAgb_DTdw9v5eo&s=AgQvJi_TyDDRlkUSyT-CPiQJURTlGMxaBkGFiwk0UbU&e=
>
>
> Confuciusornis sanctus has been heralded as a bird with an ancestrally
> diapsid skull, although this does not match its phylogenetic position as
> determined by other skeletal features. Based on 13 cranial specimens in
> European collections, we demonstrate that the observed scaffolding in the
> temporal region is highly derived and comparable to some of 21â23 cases of
> secondary bridges across the temporal fossa that evolved in modern birds. In
> Confuciusornis, the temporal fossa is crossed by a secondary temporal bar
> (absent in Eoconfuciusornis) that is continuous with the braincase but
> discontinuous with the postorbital process. A small postorbital bone (if
> present) is covered by this secondary ossification. The postorbital process
> is continuous with a prominent supraorbital rim and extends to the jugal as
> in sally-striking birds, including some Podargidae (Podargus), Leptosomidae,
> Brachypteraciidae, Coraciidae, Bucconidae, and Galbulidae, which tend to
> have wide gapes, large jaws with deep cranial rostra (and the nasal opening
> in a caudal position), and require additional attachments of musculus
> adductor mandibulae externus for fast and powerful snatching of the prey.
> The best modern analogue for the secondary temporal scaffolding seen in
> Confuciusornis is provided by Podargus, in which the long postorbital
> process is propped up by the temporal bar in addition the secondary bridge
> across the temporal fossa. The cranial evidence identifies Confuciusornis
> sanctus as a sally-striking predator.
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