Friday, May 11, 2012

The Amazing Pterosaur Pelvis

There is a new paper out in Acta Palaeontologica Polonica on the anatomy and diversity of pterosaur pelvses by Hyder, Witton, and Martill.  It's open access, so check it out:

Here's the abstract:
Pterosaur pelvic girdles are complex structures that offer a wealth of phylogenetic and biomechanical information, but have been largely overlooked by pterosaur anatomists. Here, we review pterosaur pelvic morphology and find significant differences that correlate well with pterosaur clades identified in some phylogenetic analyses. We find that the length and orientation of the iliac processes, position of the acetabulum, extent of the ischiopubic plate and presence of supraneural fusion in adult individuals are taxonomically informative. Ontogenetic changes in pelvic morphology dictate that osteologically mature specimens are required to assess the development of many of these characteristics. We suggest that pelvic characters can readily be incorporated into pterosaur phylogenetic analyses and may assist in resolving the controversial interrelationships of this group. Distinctive pterosaur pelvic morphotypes suggest considerable differences in stance, locomotory kinematics and hindlimb functionality across the group.


  1. I like all of the online links in the bibliography. More papers should do that. However, I do feel that the pterosaur pelvic reconstructions would have been more useful if they included real texturing where known, instead of the generic flat shine.

    1. That's a good suggestion - there is a lot left to be done on pterosaur pelvis morphology, and as it is studied and described in more detail, more figures will doubtlessly be put together. Textured illustrations will, with any luck, show up in these more focused papers.

    2. I have a question. Speaking about stance, is there evidence that at least some pterosaurs were capable of bipedal locomotion with their hind legs? I am aware that the evidence suggests most pterosaurs were quadrupeds but Ive seen the idea of bipedal capabilities for some pterosaurs floated around the internet. Im just curious if there has been any confirmation of this idea as of late.

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