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Nyctosaurus sebulbai



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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How does it throw?