Evolution and Palaeobiology of Pterosaurs
Pterosaurs were a peculiar group of Mesozoic vertebrates, which acquired the ability to fly in an original way, using a membrane attached to a single finger of the hand. Ever since the first description of a pterosaur skeleton in 1784, these remarkable animals have elicited much discussion and controversy among palaeontologists, and many basic questions about their origin, evolution and biology remain disputed. In the last few years, interest in pterosaurs has been revived by numerous discoveries of new and sometimes remarkably preserved specimens, which have enlarged and changed our picture of this group. The volume begins with descriptions of several new pterosaurs from the Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous of Europe, North and South America, and Africa. Following this, alternative hypotheses of pterosaur phytogeny and evolution are put forward. Several papers discuss the functional anatomy of pterosaurs and its implications for aerial locomotion. The study of pterosaur footprints provides important new evidence concerning their terrestrial locomotion, and this approach is used in several contributions. A developing aspect of pterosaur research is bone histology, as shown by the final papers in this collection.
The musculature of the pectoral region of representative rhamphorhynchoid (Campylognathoid.es) and large pterodactyloid (Anhanguera) pterosaurs was reconstructed in order to examine the function of various muscles and the functional consequences of the evolution of the advanced pectoral girdle of large pterodactyloids. The reconstructions suggest that m. supracora-coideus was not an elevator of the wing, but instead depressed and flexed the humerus, m. latissimus dorsi, m. teres major, m. deltoides scapularis, and m. scapulohumeralis anterior were wing elevators. Comparison of the origin, insertion and function of muscles in the rhamphorhynchoid and the large pterodactyloid suggests that...