Meeting Abstract

P1.49  Wednesday, Jan. 4   The range of variation in pedal phalangeal proportions increases over the evolution of the avian lineage LEARY, Brian P.*; KAVANAGH, Kathryn; University of Massachusetts Dartmouth; University of Massachusetts Dartmouth bleary@umassd.edu

The proportions of the pedal digit phalanges of modern birds have been found to be predictive of their function. Ratites and many other strictly cursorial birds exhibit a gradient phalangeal pattern that decrease in length proximodistally, while falconiforms and other predatory birds display short, evenly sized proximal phalanges with an elongate distal phalanx. Interestingly, the phalangeal proportions of birds collectively vary within a limited range and many possible phalangeal patterns are absent in nature. We explored the variation in pedal phalanges proportions in non-avian dinosaurs. We found that the variation of these taxa is a subset of the range of variation in modern aves. Furthermore, analysis of proportions in morphospace for specific fossils lends further evidence to particular hypotheses of function of function in extinct taxa.