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> ornstn@hookup.net (Ronald Orenstein) wrote: 

 <regarding the hoatzin and Archaeopteryx>
The comparison is not really too useful, except for noting that the two are
about the same size and build.  The young do not have "extra fingers" but
functional claws on their wings - certainly an independent development, as
hoatzins are no closer to Archaeopteryx than any other livinng bird.
Ronald I. Orenstein                           Phone: (905) 820-7886 (home)

 Actually, there may be some value in the comparison.  All bird
embryos go through the stage, except that they do it in their shells. The
hoatzin chick has managed to retain it for a few weeks after hatching. 

The "hand" is actually partly functional.  There are not just claws; many 
phalanges are also present, but I don't know if the chicks can actually "grasp"
small vines and twigs.  I would think that if a paleontologist wanted to
contribute a theory on how, or if, Archaeopteryx (or maniraptors, for that
matter) could climb trees, it would be wise to study the physiology and
climbing abilities of hoatzin chicks.