all Pterosauria had akinetic skulls
Edna Prondvai & Attila Osi, 2011. Potential for intracranial movements in pterosaurs. The Anatomical Record IN PRESS + Supporting Information. ABSTRACT. Based on comparative anatomical, morphological, and phylogenetic considerations the potential of pterosaurs for cranial kinesis is assessed. Our investigation shows that whereas skeletally mature derived pterodactyloids have completely fused, rigid and doubtlessly akinetic skulls, skeletally immature derived pterodactyloids and more basal pterosaurs possess key features in the morphology of their otic and basal joints that are suggestive of cranial kinesis, namely streptostyly. In addition, pterosaurs exhibit an evolutionarily informative trend in the degree of cranial ossification, where it is low in most nonpterodactyloids (here named bifenestratans), intermediate in Rhamphorhynchus and Archaeopterodactyloidea, and high in derived pterodactyloids. Incomplete fusion could also indicate loose connections between skull elements. However, another crucial anatomical requirement of a kinetic skull, the permissive kinematic linkage, is absent in all pterosaurian taxa. The fact, that the presence of permissive kinematic linkages in the skull is also a prerequisite of all types of cranial kinesis, provides hard evidence that all members of Pterosauria had akinetic skulls. Thus, the presence of the morphological attributes indicative of intracranial movements in some pterosaurs must be explained on grounds other than real potential for cranial kinesis. It could either be of mechanical or ontogenetic importance, or both. Alternatively, it might be considered as the morphological remnant of a real, kinetic skull possessed by the diapsid ancestors of pterosaurs.