Recommended Web Log – Pterosauria for all things Related to the “Bird Necks”

Every once in a while team members at Everything Dinosaur get pointed towards a new online resource such as a website, forum or blog.  Having spent a little time reviewing some papers on the ancestry of the Pterosaurs (flying reptiles), one of our colleagues was pointed in the direction of a really cool web log – dedicated to anything and everything related to Ornithodira, a clade within a larger division of the Order Reptilia – the Archosaurs.

The Early Triassic was a critical time in the evolution of back-boned animals.  In the aftermath of the Permian-Triassic extinction event, a mass extinction that led to the demise of something like 70% of all vertebrate genera living on land, the foundations for many of our modern ecosystems were laid down.  The period of time immediately after the mass extinction event sees the origins of a number of today’s successful vertebrates – mammals, turtles and the Archosaurs.  Extant members of the Archosauria include the birds and crocodiles.  The Ornithodirans, although members of the Archosauria are characterised by their upright stance, ankle bones, and “S-shaped” necks.  The Ornithodirans (the name means “bird necks”) are further divided into two related but distinctly different groups:

* Dinosauromorpha – the sub-clade that defines the Dinosaurs

* Pterosauromorpha – Pterosaurs (flying reptiles)

Although the exact definition of the Ornithodira has been debated, and the phylogenic relationships between genera and families is in some cases a “grey area” in palaeontology to say the least.  For example, Pterosaurs did not seem to possess an upright stance or indeed “S-shaped” necks, but their ancestors did; so they are classified in this way.

Charting a course through all this is the web log Pterosauria – a blog that provides updates on research, studies and data on this important part of vertebrate evolution.  As the blog owner and writer Taylor Reints states:

“We are a blog that tries to question main Dinosaur and Pterosaur – Ornithodiran – answers or answer Ornithodiran questions.”

Either way, if you want to learn more about the ancestry of the Dinosauria and the Pterosauria then this blog is for you.  What’s more the blog contains a lot of brilliant illustrations, bringing these ancient reptiles back to life.

An Illustration of the Ornithodiran Marasuchus (Marasuchus lilloensis)

Picture Credit: Pterosauriablog (author Taylor Reints)

The illustration shows a reconstruction of Marasuchus, a bipedal, fast-running reptile, believed to be basal to the evolution of the Dinosauria.

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