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Psittacosaurus fossil preserves uropatagia, convergent with Sharovipteryx

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Here’s an observation
of convergence you won’t see anywhere else.

It’s well known that pterosaurs,
their ancestors and cousins, like Sharovipteryx (Fig 1) had uropatagia (= extradermal membranes behind each hind limb).

Figure 2. The SMF R 4970 specimen of Psittacosaurus.

On the other hand,
It’s not so well known that a basal ceratopsian, Psittacosaurus (Fig 2, specimen SMF R 4970), also preserves a uropatagium trailing each hind limb.

Figure 3. Still image from YouTube video on Psittacosaurus. Arrow points to uropatagium.

Many artists and scientists say uropatagia enabled Sharovipteryx to glide,
but no one will ever imagine a gliding Psittacosaurus.

So… maybe uropatagia are not gliding membranes in non-pterosaurs.

Of what use are uropatagia in nonvolant tetrapods?
1) heat sink to cool the largest, most active muscles of the body;
2) extradermal areas for decoration;
3) shade/protection over egg clutches.
4) Anything else?

Figure 4. We can imagine Sharovipteryx as a glider, but we know it was a bipdal sprinter with splayed lepidosaur limbs. Here uropatagia provide heat sinks for the largest, most active muscles in the body, additional canvas for decoration and shade for any little ones hiding beneath, just like Psittacosaurus.

Psittacosaurus major
(Osborn 1923, You et al. 2008) is a sister to Yinlong with a larger rostrum and no premaxillary teeth in the LRT. Psittacosaurus is known from a wide variety of specimens with distinct skull shapes.

Mayr G, Peters SD, Plodowski G and Vogel O 2002. Bristle-like integumentary structures at the tail of the horned dinosaur Psittacosaurus. Naturwissenschaften. 89 (8): 361–365.
Osborn HF 1923. Two Lower Cretaceous dinosaurs from Mongolia. American Museum Novitates 95: 1–10.
You H−L, Tanou K and Dodson P 2008. New data on cranial anatomy of the ceratopsian dinosaur Psittacosaurus major. Acta Palaeontologica Polonica 53 (2): 183–196.



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