PterosaurHeresies.com and ReptileEvolution.com: 2012 in review

The Pterosaur Heresies blog began in July of 2011, gaining readers every month (but two) until reaching an acme in July of 2012 when it received 15,000 views. Since August the average monthly has settled back to a steady 10,000 or so for a total of 130,000 in 2012.

The sister site, reptileevolution.com, ended up with 1.2 million hits for the year (more pages to get lost in).

While many big issues were handled right off the bat in 2011, there was some excitement in 2012, too:

January
We looked at the purported catapult mechanism in pterosaurs.
Mecistotrachelos, the Walking Stick “Rib” Glider
Why Pterosaurs Are Extinct Today

February
Post-crania for a new Proterochampsa
A series on pterosaur fingers
A New Nose for Herrerasaurus – with corrections!
The Tiny origin of the Reptilia
We imagined an egg for Quetzalcoatlus

March
The origin of flapping
The aerodynamics of Sharovipteryx
A series on the pterosaur palate

(I’m skipping lots of good stuff here to keep it short.)

April
Tooth loss in turtles
Binocular vision in pterosaurs
Pterosaur take-off from water
An expose’ on purported and real female pterosaurs

May
How pterosaurs landed on trees (series)

June
Experiments breaking apart the large reptile tree
The first reconstruction of Albertonectes, an elasmosaur
A new elbow for Megalancosaurus
Growth series for Zhejianopterus – pretty much puts the nail in the coffin of allometric ontogeny in pterosaurs

July
The Tetrapod Zoology series of rebuttals starting here. In July, you might remember, a little PR came our way when Darren Naish decided to lash out at what he must have perceived as a scientific threat, since he warned “the world” the whole of RepitleEvolution.com should be “ignored.” Unfortunately his arguments took on the patina of propaganda when he used the work of other artists to represent my own (there are no restrictions on using my artwork, as is) and he mined the wastebasket of my discarded ideas that did not make it reptileevolution.com to characterize the present site. Very sad that such a focused mind took such a tangental approach. Very little, if any of his arguments were actually focused on the site as it is and grows to become. He found very few valid specific problems. Naish was confused that I updated an illustration, but this is the scientific process as better data comes in. Even occasional readers know that all verified errors are corrected as soon as possible, but Naish decided to blackwash the entire site rather than focus on specifics. Many of you have let me know you recognize what’s happening here, and I appreciate those notes. Others are still stuck in their untenable paradigms.

Continuing with July:
Some questionable identifications made on Bellebrunnus
The Sordes “uropatagium
A series on the characters used by Nesbitt 2011
Tanystropheus
as an underwater biped

August
A series of “Strange Bedfellows” recovered by Nesbitt 2011.
Sacral number and bipedalism
Evolution of gigantism in pterosaurs
Pregnant pterosaurs, putting the egg back inside
Diandongosuchus. Not a basal poposauroid. A basal phytosaur. (series)

September
Stenocybus series
The skinniest pterosaur
How Nyctosaurus UNSM93000 lost a wing phalanx, or two.
Partitioning the reptile tree – and getting the same topology

October
Two new Mesadactylus
The origin of the drepanosaurs
Bipeds at the base of the diapsida
Kyrgyzsaurus, a new flapping fenestrasaur
The Tiny Descendants of Archaeopteryx

November
We reconstructed Romeriscus using DGS. Now someone needs to do this again as a test.
A closer look at rib gliders and their ribs
The Zittel wing doesn’t need to be ignored
Pterosaur and therapsid foot convergence – this was strangely popular

December
Vjushkovia – at the base of the Rauisuchia and the Archosauria
The origin of dinosaurs, going way, way back
Ornithosuchus Experiments with Bipedalism and Develops a Heel
Tiny prehistoric birds and pterosaurs
Cutleria, another basal therapsid
And a short series on a basalmost reptile, Brouffia

Pterosaur take-off, the base of the therapsids, the myth of the batwing pterosaur, the origin of bats and a look at the horned amphibian, Diploceraspis, keep getting hits long after their original posts.

So, thank you for your interest. Thank you for your letters pointing out errors. The process of trying to come up with fascinating topics every day keeps me in the game when I might have wandered off to play golf or wax my car.

We’ll keep fighting the good fight against those who say pterosaurs are archosaurs but will never be able to provide a series of archosaurs with a gradually increasing number of ptersosaurian characters, against those who say you can’t find anything new in reptile phylogeny using a greatly expanded set of taxa, against those who say you can’t find anything new using Photoshop and DGS in roadkill fossils, against those who find no value in creating precise reconstructions, and all the other paleo topics we focus on here.

Best regards,

Dave

PS. The large reptile tree is still completely resolved at over 325 taxa, sans most basal therapsids and pterosaurs, which have their own trees.

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