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>>How does the evolution of the patagium (the flap of skin covering the
>>forearm, forming the airfoil shape) fit in with all of this?  Perhaps
>>explaining how that evolved could help us solve this riddle?
>That would be a pterosaur and bat adaptation, not (as far as I know, but
>anything is possible, etc., etc.) an avian adaptation.

No. Birds DO have a patagium, divided into a metapatagium and a propatagium.
According to the article "Wing" in "A Dictionary of birds" [Campbell and
Lack, eds):

"The propatagium is a membranous fold of skin along the anterior margin of
the wing, from shoulder to carpal joint; it contains flexor muscles and
tendons.  The metapatagium is  a similar fold between the body and the
posterior margin of the upper wing."
Ronald I. Orenstein                           Phone: (905) 820-7886 (home)
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