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> I came upon an interesting article today in "Earth" magazine. It seems
> there is some debate now over the ability of archaeopteryx to fly.
It always has been.
Every time it seems ot be settled, some other factor comes out
which re-opens the debate.
Not that I am yet convinced that the feathers are sufficiently
symmetrical to be unusable in flight.
> The reason for the feathers then? According to Speakman, there exist a
> couple of possibilities. Perhaps the feathers were use for insulation,
For the body feathers this is *certainly* true, whether Archie
could fly or no.
For the wing primaries, it is absurd. They do NOT cover any living
tissue, and so do not insulate anything significant.
> perhaps for camoflage, or, because it is thought that archaeopteryx was a
> shallow water hunter, maybe they were used to shade the water from the suns
> blinding glare. This would allow them to see their prey better.
Or, MUCH more likely: intraspecific display!
In general, display purposes are much more likely to generate
extravagant, often enlarged, structures than almost any other
The peace of God be with you.