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March 14, 2006
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The Hairy Devil by Qilong The Hairy Devil by Qilong
Ever since pterosaurs were discovered, theories of all shapes have been formed to speculate on how, if, or when pterosaurs could fly. Recent theories speculate that juveniles almost right after hatching may have been able to fly, but by far the most debated theory has been the shape of the wings. Here is Sordes pilosus, a pterosaur that has been at the center of the debate due to the well-preserved holotype, which suggests a tissue that stretched from each of the hindlegs to the wing tips, illustrated here as Sharov's View. This old-school interpretation was prevalent for decades before Sharov, however, as even Harry G. Seeley discussed this on pterosaurs from Solnhofen, Germany, and the Liassic beds of Dorset, England, where only a broad-chord wings were capable of allowing the animal to fly at all.

(Chord is the measure of the distance from the front margin of the wing to the rear margin, compared to the span of the wing. A broad-chord wing has a more even ratio [closer to 1] than narrow-chord wings [further from 1].)

Newer debate however has argued that the hindlegs are not, in fact, so intimately related to the wings, but that the membrane from the legs stretched between the legs and contacted the tail, but not the wing membrane. This was argued by Kevin Padian from Berkeley, and is termed here the new-school version. The wing membranes extend from the sides of the body to the tips, not from the legs, and the design is narrower in the chord. What is surprising is that Sordes is ambiguous in the shape of the wing membrane, as the margin from the wingtip to the leg (or wingtip to the body wall) is actually not present on the fossils known. But the margin of the membranes around the feet are well-preserved, and show that the fifth-toe is the base of both versions. The argument is wether this toe extends the membrane to the wings, or between the feet themselves, and this may depend on a positional argument of the feet themselves: Does the foot show the ability to extend the toe sideways, dorsally, ventrally, or even towards the tail to allow the membrane to connect to the tail? Fortunately, I don't have the answer that here :)
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Tomozaurus Featured By Owner Jul 23, 2008  Student General Artist
Awesome. Do you mind if I use this skeletal as a guide for a reconstruction of the creature?
Qilong Featured By Owner Jul 24, 2008
Not at all. I wouldn't mind a link when you're done!
Tomozaurus Featured By Owner Jul 24, 2008  Student General Artist
Cool, thanks. I'll send ya a link when its up.
Fingertier Featured By Owner Apr 7, 2007
It`s scientific name is meaning for latin 'Hairy dirty thing', right?
Qilong Featured By Owner Jun 21, 2007
Sordes is derived from a Latin type of spirit that doesn't have an exact translation (see also, penares, lemures, etc.), which just represent bad luck and ill-fortune. Pilosa does indeed mean "hairy" or "with a lot of hair."
RSNascimento Featured By Owner Sep 24, 2006
The correct position of wing membranes make me confuse. Can you take a look in my two versions of Tapejara and tell me, in your opnion what one are correct, and if the last one is acceptable.
First version:
Second version with T. navigans:
Qilong Featured By Owner Sep 28, 2006
The main differences in your membrane plans are the uropatagia, which may or may not be relevant given the shortness of the tail in tapejarids. There may or may not be a uropatagium in Sordes, but this may not matter on uropatagiata anyway.
Sainte-Vincient Featured By Owner Mar 22, 2006  Hobbyist Digital Artist
As always, beautiful reconstructions. This debate over pterosaur patagia is fascinating. While the pterosauria are not my main focus I like hearing the new theories since they affect my work. I've often wondered if there wasn't a variety of wing forms in pterosaurs just as there are variations on the basic bird wing. But pterosaurs are so different in their adaptations for flight from birds that I guess it's dangerous to draw too many parallels.
Anyway, great work, Jaime. Definitely going into my reference files. If you don't mind, that is. :)
Qilong Featured By Owner Mar 24, 2006
No, go right ahead. My skeletons are free for use with the only requirement being attribution.

I have also considered a wide variety of wing forms, however, most work has dealt with minimizing possible wing forms, due to the difficult issues of projecting too many variables on a model and then studying each variable, when considering a taxon. Instead, most work has been to find features that relate to wing-design and see where that takes them.
avancna Featured By Owner Mar 15, 2006  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
This particular devil doesn't look so hairy.
Perhaps Sordes got into the Nair again?
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