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>Ron and Rob have been discussing the possible existance of contour feathers.
>Ron is saying that there had tobe some intermediate feather before flight. RO
>was saying that there does not appear to be any evidence etc.

Since there is no evidence of patagia at any stage in avian evolution (given
that the hind limb of basal birds maintained the primitive theropod
morphology), birds do not seem to have gone through the same type of gliding
stage as found in modern dermopterans, flying squirrels, Draco, flying
frogs, etc.

Bird wings would not have been capable of even limited flight without
feathers or protofeathers.  As such, these must have been extant in the
immediate ancestors of birds, for whatever function, and exapted into use as
flight mechanisms.

Thomas R. Holtz, Jr.
Vertebrate Paleontologist
Dept. of Geology
University of Maryland
College Park, MD  20742
Email:Thomas_R_HOLTZ@umail.umd.edu (th81)
Fax: 301-314-9661