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Limb disparity and wing shape in pterosaurs

Dyke, Gareth J., Nudds, R.L. and Rayner, J.M.V. (2006) Limb disparity and wing shape in pterosaurs Journal of Evolutionary Biology, 19, (4), pp. 1339-1342. (doi:10.1111/j.1420-9101.2006.01096.x).

Record type: Article

Abstract

The limb proportions of the extinct flying pterosaurs were clearly distinct from their living counterparts, birds and bats. Within pterosaurs, however, we show that further differences in limb proportions exist between the two main groups: the clade of short-tailed Pterodactyloidea and the paraphyletic clades of long-tailed rhamphorhynchoids. The hindlimb to forelimb ratios of rhamphorhynchoid pterosaurs are similar to that seen in bats, whereas those of pterodactyloids are much higher. Such a clear difference in limb ratios indicates that the extent of the wing membrane in rhamphorhynchoids and pterodactyloids may also have differed; this is borne out by simple ternary analyses. Further, analyses also indicate that the limbs of Sordes pilosus, a well-preserved small taxon used as key evidence for inferring the extent and shape of the wing membrane in all pterosaurs, are not typical even of its closest relatives, other rhamphorhynchoids. Thus, a bat-like extensive hindlimb flight membrane, integrated with the feet and tail may be applicable only to a small subset of pterosaur diversity. The range of flight morphologies seen in these extinct reptiles may prove much broader than previously thought.

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Published date: 2006
Organisations: Ocean Biochemistry & Ecosystems

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Local EPrints ID: 205235
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/205235
ISSN: 1010-061X
PURE UUID: 81204dad-0175-4082-9e20-d32c55a73dd6

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Date deposited: 07 Dec 2011 17:53
Last modified: 18 Jul 2017 11:05

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Contributors

Author: Gareth J. Dyke
Author: R.L. Nudds
Author: J.M.V. Rayner

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