False pterosaur propaganda over at Wikipedia

On occasion I take a look at the Wikipedia page
on Pterosaurs to see where the authors have edited in Peters 2000 in or out on the origins section. At present this is what the Wiki authors say. My comments follow in bold.

“Like the dinosaurs, and unlike these other reptiles, pterosaurs are more closely related to birds than to crocodiles or any other living reptile.” [false, living lepidosaurs are closer]

Because pterosaur anatomy has been so heavily modified for flight, and immediate transitional fossil predecessors have not so far been described [false, see Peters 2000], the ancestry of pterosaurs is not fully understood [false, see Peters 2000]. Several hypotheses have been advanced, including links to the avemetatarsalian-like Scleromochlus, an ancestry among the basal archosauriforms, like Euparkeria, or among the protorosaurs.

Two researchers, Chris Bennett (1996) and David Peters (2000), have found pterosaurs to be protorosaurs or closely related to them [false, Bennett nested pterosaurs between Proterosuchus and Erythrosuchus] [this Wiki author fails to list Cosesaurus, Longisquama, Sharovipteryx, Langobardisaurus and Macrocnemus, none of which are considered protorosaurs any more]. Peters used a technique called DGS [false, that was 5 years before DGS was ‘invented’], which involves applying the digital tracing features of photo editing software to images of pterosaur fossils. [this citation is falsely attributed to Irmis et al. 2007] Bennett only recovered pterosaurs as close relatives of the protorosaurs after removing characteristics of the hind limb from his analysis, in an attempt to test the idea that these characters are the result of convergent evolution between pterosaurs and dinosaurs. [false] However, subsequent analysis by Dave Hone and Michael Benton (2007) could not reproduce this result. Hone and Benton found pterosaurs to be closely related to dinosaurs even without hind limb characters. [false. They found pterosaurs nested between Scleromochlus and Parasuchia, Suchia, Ornithosuchia and Euparkeria after tossing out data provided by Peters 2000 based on typos later exposed by Bennett 2012] 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. [false, I had studied pterosaur and fenestrasaur fossils both in the USA and in Europe] Hone and Benton concluded that, although more primitive pterosauromorphs are needed to clarify their relationships, pterosaurs are best considered archosaurs, and specifically ornithodirans, given current evidence. [remember, they tossed out contradicting evidence from Peters 2000, largely because Benton 1999 had published on the Scleromochlus and its relationship to pterosaurs] In Hone and Benton’s analysis, pterosaurs are either the sister group of Scleromochlus or fall between it and Lagosuchus on the ornithodiran family tree. [false, see above] Sterling Nesbitt (2011) found strong support for a clade composed of Scleromochlus and pterosaurs. [but Nesbitt did not include Huehuecuetzpalli, Macrocnemus, and members of the Fenestrasauria]

More recent studies on basal pterosaur hindlimb morphology seem to vindicate a connection to Scleromochlus [Witton 2015 is cited here]. Like this archosaur, basal pterosaur lineages have plantigrade hindlimbs that show adaptations for salutation. [Perhaps the Wiki author meant saltatory (leaping) locomotion, not personal greetings with a hand gesture. In any case, if anyone else thinks Scleromochlus had plantigrade feet, I’ll eat my hat. And did anyone notice, Scleromochlus has tiny vestigial hands and fingers?]

it was Hone and Benton who did not examine the pertinent fossils, but took all their data from published work to produce their supertree, after deleting and omitting all data and reference to Peters 2000 and giving credit to Bennett 1996 for both sides of the earlier competing hypotheses. Wonder why the Wiki author fails to bring up this key fact.

By the way,
Bennett (2012) reports that pterosaurs nested between the lumbering and aquatic archosauriforms Proterosuchus and Erythrosuchus. That moves the nesting away from Scleromochlus, Proterochampsids and Parasuchians, the previous archosaur ‘favorite candidates,’ which were earlier derided as “strange bedfellows.”

One of the reasons why I stopped contributing to this Wikipedia
and started ReptileEvolution.com is to provide another avenue to data than the rubbish any author can add to Wiki pages. If you want the latest on pterosaur origins, click here. For an earlier source of much of this false propaganda click here.

Bennett SC 1996. The phylogenetic position of the Pterosauria within the Archosauromorpha. Zool J Linn Soc. 118:261–309.
Bennett SC 2012. The phylogenetic position of the Pterosauria within the Archosauromorpha re-examined. Historical Biology. iFirst article, 2012, 1–19.
Hone DWE, Benton MJ. 2007. An evaluation of the phylogenetic relationships of the pterosaurs among archosauromorph reptiles. J Syst Paleontol. 5:465–469.
Hone DWE, Benton MJ. 2008. Contrasting supertree and total-evidence methods: the origin of pterosaurs. In: Buffetaut E, Hone DWE, editors. Flugsaurier: pterosaur papers in honour of Peter Wellnhofer. Munich, Germany, p. 35–60, Zitteliana B 28.
Irmis RB, et al. 2007. A Late Triassic Dinosauromorph Assemblage from New Mexico and the Rise of Dinosaurs. Science. 317 (5836): 358–61. PMID 17641198. doi:10.1126/science.1143325.
Peters D 2000a. Description and Interpretation of Interphalangeal Lines in Tetrapods.  Ichnos 7:11-41.
Peters D 2000b. A Redescription of Four Prolacertiform Genera and Implications for Pterosaur Phylogenesis. Rivista Italiana di Paleontologia e Stratigrafia 106 (3): 293–336.
Peters D 2007. The origin and radiation of the Pterosauria. In D. Hone ed. Flugsaurier. The Wellnhofer pterosaur meeting, 2007, Munich, Germany. p. 27.
Peters D 2009. A reinterpretation of pteroid articulation in pterosaurs. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology 29: 1327-1330.


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