is a meeting of those interested in pterosaurs that happens in another part of the world every few years. I went to the first few. Saw a lot of specimens. Met a lot of colleagues. Produced a few abstracts and gave some presentations.
Over the next few days
there’s a Flugsaurier meeting taking place in Los Angeles. Many well-known and not-so-well known speakers are giving presentations this year. I will not be among them. Why?
So far as I know,
all of the conveners and many of the presenters continue to ignore a paper I wrote 18 years ago on the origin of pterosaurs from fenestrasaurs, not archosaurs. Other papers followed on wing shape, trackmaker identification and other topics, all supporting that phylogenetic hypothesis of relationships. Evidently workers would prefer to hope that pterosaurs arose from archosaurs close to dinosaurs. This is not where the data takes anyone interested in the topic who is not a party to taxon exclusion.
In addition, several of the conveners
- subscribe to the invalid quad-launch hypothesis
- the bat-wing reconstruction of the brachiopatagium.
- they believe that pedal digit 5 framed a uropatagium.
- They refuse to add tiny Solnhofen pterosaurs to their cladograms.
- They refuse to add several specimens of each purported genus to cladograms—and because of this they don’t recognize the four origins of the pterodactyloid-grade (not clade).
- They still don’t recognize that pterosaurs grew isometrically.
- They still don’t accept that pterosaur mothers retained their egg/embryo within the body until just before hatching (a lepidosaur trait).
- They still don’t accept that pterosaur bone fusion patterns follow lepidosaur, rather than archosaur patterns.
- They accept the idea that giant eyeballs filled the anterior skulls of anurognathids, not realizing that the supposed ‘scleral ring’ on edge of the flathead anurognathid is actually the mandible and tiny teeth.
- They reject any notion that all basal and some derived pterosaurs were bipedal, despite the footprint and morphological evidence proving bipedal locomotion.
- They all hold out hope that the largest azhdarchids could fly.
- I was going to say that all workers believe that crest size and hip shape identify gender, when the evidence indicates these are both phylogenetic markers, but then I found an abstract in 2018 that casts doubt on the gender/crest/pelvis hypothesis. So there’s hope.
That’s a fairly long list of ‘basics’
that most pterosaur workers ‘believe in’ despite the fact that there is no evidence for these false paradigms — but plenty of evidence for the lepidosaur origin of pterosaurs, from which most of the above hypotheses follow.
I am not attending Flugsaurier 2018
because the convening pterosaur workers deny and suppress the data listed above. Plus, I can more actively and thoroughly test assertions made during the conference from ‘my perch’ here in mid-America.
Good luck to those attending.
Test all assertions and hypotheses, no matter their source.