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> follow. Like the good little imprinters they are, off they plunge - down - 
> down
> - down.. and onto the rocks (yes, rocks) below. By virtue of their fluffy 
> down,
> they survive, and after clambering over a rock-strewn beach to get to the sea,
> off swim the (brain damaged - kidding) babies with their parents.. happily 
> ever
> after. etc etc.
> > A viable experiment might therefore be to catch some of these chicks, pre-
> leaving nest, nudify them (new word?), then see if they survive the fall? I'm
> sure most of us (hopefully all) would petition against such an experiment, but
> this whole sequence of events *might* prove that 'any amount of fluff' is
> beneficial to little critters that fall.. it is to these animals anyway. But
> then, seeing as such specific behaviour was _probably_ not too important in 
> the
> day-to-day adventures of bird ancestors, perhaps it's quite irrelevant..

      This might speak for feathers being developed into protective padding, 
but getting from there to functional flight feathers is a big step.

LN Jeff