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Nyctosaurus sebulbai

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No, this isn't a real animal.

Nyctosaurids are pterosaurs with incredibly long arms, but comparatively short feet. Darren Naish once speculated ([link]) that pterosaurs could attain flightless status in much the same ways as birds do, with reduction of the forelimbs and wing form, developing elongated hindlimbs in azhdarchid-like taxa and thus become giraffe or horse-like "quadrupedasaurs." I wonder if the selection on the wings for form are so intensive this could ever happen. Indeed, it seems that it would be the feet first to go, the wings second, if ever. What if, instead, we got pterosaurs who walked with their wings, freeing their feet from locomotion? Pterosaurs may already only need some push with the feet to quad-launch, with much of the force of the leap generated with a push from the grounded wings, followed by thrust from wing unfolding. Nyctosaurids are also pterosaurs in which it seems the first several manus digits (fingers) are lost, resulting in what are essentially one-digit wings. So for all that they are incredibly long, the wings would seem to make useful locomotory appendages on ground and in flight, and the feet needed less and less. Perhaps this trend would vestigialize the feet, and even cause them to become essentially nonfunctional in locomotion. Thus, the name, which reckons to Star Wars' Dug race, exemplified by the "villainous" Sebulba, who walked on his upper limbs, and grasped with his lower, modified to correspond the other limbs' anatomy (as if Lucas' guys had pulled the legs off the bottom and switched them around, and said "Done!" -- which is what they did).
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Comments24
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How does it throw?

AntFingers's avatar
Oooh! I could see this turning into some sort of sentient being!
TheMorlock's avatar
Fragillimus335's avatar
Something I think is very cool, and highly possible. :)  I wish they lived long enough to give this a try!
DYnoJackal19's avatar
"Right turn, Clyde!"
PaleoFreak's avatar
Great. I've posted it at [link]
Orionide5's avatar
Bizzare... but how does it eat? It would have to do some crazy push-ups to get its beak to the ground. Or maybe its entire body (minus the wings) would rotate down, like a drinking bird. Still, really funny and creative.
Qilong's avatar
It drinks in the tears of tiny orphan boys who just want to prove to other people they mean something, but in reality are just Jake Lloyd. Poor pathetic honkeys.
Kazuma27's avatar
What? How? Eh?

LOVE this concept, absolutely love it!

You're making some amazing restorations lately, ya know? ;)
Krookodile0553's avatar
Wait... Wouldn't Pterosaur wing morphology/range of motion limit this supposed Pterodug to... Opposite-limbed Kangaroo locomotion XDD
Qilong's avatar
Presumably, it would walk as as a human does: an inverted pendulum. Imagine rather that the limb design is a backwards "goatleg," much as people like to depict "satyrs" and whatnot walk. So one wouldn't need other-limb support at low speeds, as one might find a kangaroo doing, or hopping, or ricocheting as in jerboas and kangaroos. Not sure about how fast it could go and how it would maintain balance at those speeds, and the balancing act it must perform would require changing gaits at various speeds.
Krookodile0553's avatar
I actually was thinking of the hunched over walk...
Qilong's avatar
Ah. It's such a silly posture, though.
Krookodile0553's avatar
:icontruestoryplz: It looks silly on roos as well though normally Pterodugg here would be hopping...
Gogosardina's avatar
Yu cantu bantha poodoo!
Hyrotrioskjan's avatar
Haha, I also thought about this possibility, really nice implementation of the concept :thumbsup:
ZEGH8578's avatar
I like it. As a hypothetical idea it is full of little reprecussions also, for example those little toes now pointing out front, "unemployed" so to speak, I'm imagining it to be almost inevitable that they not reveal the animals body language, and thus be part of communication :D
Qilong's avatar
Yes, I imagine quite the repertoire of footshakes, toebumbs and "ankling" to jostle for position.
Silenced-Dreams's avatar
This is a fun idea and rather inspiring at that, ahah.

Dug-opterus ftw.
pilsator's avatar
Wonderful work, that Dug-opterus.
Yellow-Fr3aK's avatar
love it! Especially the comparison with Star Wars XD
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