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>I'd have to agree with you about the cushioning theory, at least as the=
>mechanism for their survival, if it does indeed help at all. I think that=
>while the fluffy cushion idea has SOME merit, I think perhaps an=20
>larger consideration has to be given to how the down would affect the=20
>drag coefficient  of the little critter. Put mo simply, aren't you just=20
>as likely to get saved by drag from the down slowing your fall as you are=
>from it cushioning it?

Perhaps, but wouldn't the effect of drag be greater on a larger animal than=
 on a smaller?  It's like the amount of force required to move a dolphin is=
 smaller than the amount needed to move a sperm whale (ignoring inertia for=
 the moment), because the latter has a much larger body.


"Don't panic!"