Limb disparity and wing shape in pterosaurs

  title={Limb disparity and wing shape in pterosaurs},
  author={Gareth J. Dyke and Robert L. Nudds and Jeremy Rayner},
  journal={Journal of Evolutionary Biology},
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… 
Evolution of morphological disparity in pterosaurs
Comparisons of disparity based on discrete cladistic characters show that the basal paraphyletic rhamphorhynchoids (Triassic–Early Cretaceous) occupied a distinct, and relatively small, region of morphospace compared to the derived pterodactyloids (Late Jurassic–Late Cret Jurassic).
Morphospaces of functionally analogous traits show ecological separation between birds and pterosaurs
  • Nicholas R Chan
  • Environmental Science, Biology
    Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
  • 2017
It is indicated that pterosaurs had relatively longer jaws, shorter metatarsals and shorter brachial regions compared with birds of similar size, which indicates ecological separation based on differences in size, locomotory features and feeding adaptations.
On wing disparity and morphological variation of the Santana Group pterosaurs
It is found 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.
Palaeobiology, Morphology, and Flight Characteristics of Pterodactyloid Pterosaurs
The “crocodilian-like” sequence of suture closure between the neural arches and vertebral bodies of the thoracic vertebrae is confirmed within the azhdarchoid pterosaurs, indicating that the developmental timing between the Azhdarchoidea and Ornithocheiroidea did not significantly differ.
A tiny ornithodiran archosaur from the Triassic of Madagascar and the role of miniaturization in dinosaur and pterosaur ancestry
Analysis of ancestral body size indicates that there was a pronounced miniaturization event near the common ancestor of dinosaurs and pterosaurs, and an analysis of body size evolution in dinosaurs and other archosaurs demonstrates that the earliest-diverging members of the group may have been smaller than previously thought.
The fossil record and limb disparity of enantiornithines, the dominant flying birds of the Cretaceous
Comparisons of fossil record dynamics show that enantiornithine ‘collectorship’ since the 1980s approaches an exponential distribution, indicating that an asymptote in proportion of specimens has yet to be achieved, and demonstrate that the fossil record of enantiORNithines is complete enough for the extraction of biological patterns.
The Extent of the Pterosaur Flight Membrane
It is strongly suggested that the trailing edge of the wing extended down to the lower leg or ankle in all specimens where the brachiopatagium is completely preserved, and is thus likely to have been universally present throughout the Pterosauria.
Challenges and advances in the study of pterosaur flight1
In recent years, three areas of pterosaur biology have faced challenges and made advances: structure of the wing membrane, function of the pteroid, body size and mass estimates, as well as flight mechanics and aerodynamics.
Constraints on the wing morphology of pterosaurs
  • C. PalmerG. Dyke
  • Environmental Science
    Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
  • 2011
Basic mechanical and aerodynamic constraints that influenced the wing shape of pterosaurs are reviewed, and a series of theoretical modelling results are presented that show that a combination of anterior sweep and a reflexed proximal wing section provides an aerodynamically balanced and efficient theoretical pterosaur wing shape.
The shape of pterosaur evolution: evidence from the fossil record
Pterosaur morphological diversification is, however, strongly age biased: rarefaction analysis shows that peaks of diversity occur in the Late Jurassic and Early Cretaceous correlated with periods of increased limb disparity.


Sordes pilosus and the nature of the pterosaur flight apparatus
IT is now generally accepted that pterosaurs, Mesozoic reptiles, were true fliers, but the nature of their flight apparatus is still much disputed. Evidence has been presented in favour of bird-like
Forelimb proportions and the evolutionary radiation of Neornithes
  • R. NuddsG. DykeJ. Rayner
  • Biology, Environmental Science
    Proceedings of the Royal Society of London. Series B: Biological Sciences
  • 2004
It is suggested that with further analysis and data collection the relationships between flight behaviour, ecology and BI can be determined and may provide a useful tool for characterizing the ecology of fossil birds.
Bipedalism, flight, and the evolution of theropod locomotor diversity
This work addressed the hypothesis that bird hind limbs should be more disparate than those of non-avian theropods by visualizing one aspect of limb design, the proportions of the three main segments, using ternary diagrams, and shows that avian hind limb proportions are much more disparate.
On the phylogeny and evolutionary history of pterosaurs
  • D. Unwin
  • Biology
    Geological Society, London, Special Publications
  • 2003
The pattern of pterosaur evolution suggested by the results of this analysis is broadly similar to traditional ideas, but has greater resolution, more complexity and reveals several previously unrecognized ‘events’.
  • J. Young
  • Geology, Environmental Science
    Transactions of the Glasgow Geological Society
  • 1871
The only other class remaining to be noticed in this paper is the Reptilia, remains of which have only been identified as such during the last few years. One specimen from the Carluke coal field,
Pterosaurs: back to the traditional model?
  • Unwin
  • Biology
    Trends in ecology & evolution
  • 1999
New specimens of Pterosauria (Reptilia) with soft parts with implications for pterosaurian anatomy and locomotion
Abstract New specimens of pterosaurs with soft-part preservation from the Solnhofen Lithographic Limestone (S Germany) and the Crato Formation (northeastern Brazil) yield hitherto unknown and
Tuning of Strouhal number for high propulsive efficiency accurately predicts how wingbeat frequency and stroke amplitude relate and scale with size and flight speed in birds
It is shown that St is a simple and accurate predictor of wingbeat frequency in birds, explaining 90% of the observed variance in a sample of 60 bird species and tuned by natural selection for high aerodynamic efficiency.
Biometry: The Principles and Practice of Statistics in Biological Research
This chapter discusses statistical power and sample size in the Analysis of Variance, as well as meta-Analysis and Miscellaneous Methods, and some of the methods used in meta-analysis.
The Pterosaurs: From Deep Time