The primary membranes attached to the extremely long fourth finger of each arm and extended along the sides of the body to the ankles. Furthermore, Darren Naish concluded that atmospheric differences between the present and the Mesozoic were not needed for the giant size of pterosaurs. The flocculus is a brain region that integrates signals from joints, muscles, skin and balance organs. Egg-burying would have been beneficial to the early evolution of pterosaurs, as it allows for more weight-reducing adaptations, but this method of reproduction would also have put limits on the variety of environments pterosaurs could live in, and may have disadvantaged them when they began to face ecological competition from birds. Flight[ edit ] The mechanics of pterosaur flight are not completely understood or modeled at this time. In general, these have large hindfeet and long torsos, indicating that they were probably more adapted for swimming than other pterosaurs.
There was considerable debate whether pterosaurs ambulated as quadrupeds or as bipeds. Hone and Benton found pterosaurs to be closely related to dinosaurs even without hind limb characters. While this remains the dominant view of dsungaripterid paleobiology today, some have suggested that they were generalistic omnivores eating a variety of hard foods, as dsungaripterids are better adapted to terrestrial movement rather than wading and are found in inland deposits. Pterosaurs may have had such a large flocculus because of their large wing size, which would mean that there was a great deal more sensory information to process. Starting from the 21st century, new discoveries are now filling in these gaps and giving a better picture of the evolution of pterosaurs. The first known pterosaur egg was found in the quarries of Liaoning, the same place that yielded feathered dinosaurs. All eudimorphodonts possessed well-developed molariform teeth and could chew their food, as indicated by the tooth wear on Caviramus and Eudimorphodon teeth. This suggests that azhdarchids were better adapted to walking on dry, relatively solid ground. Caviramus likely had a strong bite force, indicating an adaptation towards hard foods. Furthermore, Darren Naish concluded that atmospheric differences between the present and the Mesozoic were not needed for the giant size of pterosaurs. The function of the actinofibrils is unknown, as is the exact material from which they were made. The presence of a subcutaneous air sac system in at least some pterodactyloids would have further reduced the density of the living animal. The pterosaur wing membrane is divided into three basic units. The presence of pycnofibers and the demands of flight imply that pterosaurs were endothermic warm-blooded. The remaining distal carpal, referred to here as the medial carpal, but which has also been termed the distal lateral, or pre-axial carpal, articulates on a vertically elongate biconvex facet on the anterior surface of the distal syncarpal. The former was almost certainly insectivorous due to its small size; Eudimorphodon has been found with fish remains in its stomach, but its dentition suggests an opportunistic diet. Species in the former category, including Carniadactylus and Eudimorphodon itself, were highly aerial animals and fast, agile flyers. Instead, it seems to have been an unusually predatory pterosaur, pursuing relatively large prey, similar in ecology to phorusrhacids. The other group is the "robust-jawed" bauplan, represented by species such as Sericipterus , Scaphognathus and Harpactognathus , which have more robust jaws and teeth which were ziphont in Sericipterus , and shorter, broader wings. They also criticized previous studies by David Peters, raising questions about whether conclusions reached without access to the primary evidence, that is, pterosaur fossils, can be held to have the same weight as conclusions based strictly on first-hand interpretation. One is the longirostrine bauplan, with long, slender wings, needle-like dentition and long, thin jaws, represented by species akin to Rhamphorhynchus itself or Dorygnathus. As a result, the possibly fish-eating Ctenochasma and Rhamphorhynchus may have had similar activity patterns to modern nocturnal seabirds, and the filter-feeding Pterodaustro may have had similar activity patterns to modern anseriform birds that feed at night. It also had a longer tail, changing the weight distribution. Two researchers, Chris Bennett and David Peters , have found pterosaurs to be protorosaurs or closely related to them. From top to bottom:
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