Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Bullshit Pulpit: Prehistoric Crocoduck [Analogue]!

I just caught up on Pharyngula today, and I saw a neat little bit on the discovery of an offshoot along the transition from pterosaurs to pterodactyls. First, I should probably say that before today, I didn't even know that there was a difference between pterosaurs and pterodactyls! But you learn something new every day, and as Garou's grandfather says, if you didn't then you weren't paying attention.

Anyway, the main differences between pterosaurs and pterodactyls, as PZ points out, are that the earlier-living pterosaurs have shorter snouts, more skull holes, some neck ribs, rather long tails, and a membrane between the hind legs called a "cruropatagium;" whereas latecomer pterodactyls have a much longer schnoz with fewer skull holes, no neck ribs (or fewer/smaller ones), much shorter tails, and a significantly reduced cruropatagium. Behold darwinopterus modularis, the psaurodactyl:
What makes it a psaurodactyl? Well, morphologically, it looks like someone glued the head of a pterodactyl onto the body of a pterosaur! Kind of like that 'shop of a crocodile's head on the body of a duck:
So there it is, the mighty psaurotactyl, prehistoric crocoduck par excellence! It's about literally half of one thing, and half the other thing, so this should be a valid transitional form to Creationists, right? Right, guys? Ray Comfort, I'm looking at you! You and that airhead Kirk better send in your applications to become card-carrying evolutionists soon!
EDIT: I realized today (10/21) that this is more in keeping with Bullshit Pulpit. Fixed.

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