Current convention holds that anurognathids had but three wing phalanges
Actually they had five and today I’m going to show you a sample very derived anurognathid (which means everything that came before it likewise had these traits). Sure distal wing phalanges are hard to see on anurognathids. That’s because they tucked them in. Here are m4.4 and m4.5 for Dendrorhynchoides, for example. And below (figs. 1,2) are the wing and toe 5 unguals for Jeholopterus, the vampire pterosaur. You can see a rollover of these images here.
Sometimes it just takes a more careful examination of the evidence.
Paleontologists have a lot to deal with (students, grant writing, trips to foreign lands, etc.). Like all of us, sometimes they overlook the little things, especially when the paradigm says those little things should not be there. I didn’t see ungual 5 on Jeholopterus until just recently when I thought to look for it.
That’s why the Pterosaur Heresies and ReptileEvolution.com present evidence when we depart from conventional thinking — especially when conventional thinking departs from logical thinking, precise observation, reconstruction and phylogenetic analysis. All of these are forgivable, so long as we all get on the good foot (yes, this will link you to the James Brown YouTube video of his smash hit).
As always, I encourage readers to see specimens, make observations and come to your own conclusions. Test. Test. And test again.
Evidence and support in the form of nexus, pdf and jpeg files will be sent to all who request additional data.
Bennett SC 2007. A second specimen of the pterosaur Anurognathus ammoni. Paläontologische Zeitschrift 81(4):376-398.
Bennett SC 2008. Morphological evolution of the wing of pterosaurs: myology and function. Zitteliana B28: 127-141.
Döderlain L 1923. Anurognathus ammoni, ein neuer Flugsaurier. Sitzungsberichte der Königlich Bayerischen Akademie der Wissenschaten, zu München, Mathematischen-physikalischen Klasse: 117-164.
Elgin RA, Hone DWE and Frey E 2011. The extent of the pterosaur flight membrane. Acta Palaeontologica Polonica doi: 10.4202/app.2009.0145 online pdf
Ji S-A and Ji Q 1998. A New Fossil Pterosaur (Rhamphorhynchoidea) from Liaoning. Jiangsu Geology 4: 199-206.
Peters D 2001. A New Model for the Evolution of the Pterosaur Wing – with a twist. Historical Biology 15:277–301.