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Re: More Holtz on the origin of birds



In a message dated 95-12-07 12:10:26 EST, Thomas_R_HOLTZ@umail.umd.edu (th81)
writes:

>The proximally mobile, distally stiffened tails of dromaeosaurids and birds
>are pretty rare among dinosaurs.  Ostrom argued that the dromaeosaurid tail
>was a balancing pole during combat, allowing the raptor to balance on one
>foot while slashing with the other.  I would add that this tail morphology
>would also allow dromaeosaurids and Archie to make rapid turns while
>running, much as cats do (see the cheetah in a recent car commercial, if
>nothing else).

All exapted from the original use of the feathered tail as an aerial rudder
and stabilizing organ.