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Re: BCF and BADD



LN Jeff writes:

>     This is certainly a good point.  On possible exception to this rule 
>might be the peacock, which has a huge, cumbersome tail whose only 
>purpose is disply.  I'm not sure if peacocks can fly well or at all.  

Sigh.  Peacocks do NOT have a huge, cumbersome tail - the peacock's train is
composed of feathers of the lower back, not the tail.  Take a look at a
displaying peacock from behind sometime - you can see the real tail propping
up the train.  And yes, peacocks can fly.

>If they can't, it would be a point in favor 
>of bird ancestors being able to get by fine as crusorial forms with 
>cumbersome display structures on thier arms.  However, an arboreal animal 
>might indeed have more latitude for developing such elaborate structures 
>since it would have less predator problems. 

At least two flightless birds, the ostrich and the kagu, retain fairly large
wings which are used in display - this is especially true for the kagu.

>     However, the idea of feathers being developed first for insulation runs 
>into basically the same problem of transitional forms as feathers originally 
>being developed for flight.  A few little bristles on the offspring of 
>those first naked archosaurs aren't going to do diddly for trapping 
>heat.  Any suggestions out there for what those pathetic proto-feathrs 
>might have been used for?

Also - I believe there is no evidence that Archaeopteryx even HAD contour
feathers (the type used for insulation).  I know of no hard evidence
suggesting that insulating feathers evolved before the remiges and rectrices.
--
Ronald I. Orenstein                           Phone: (905) 820-7886 (home)
International Wildlife Coalition              Fax/Modem: (905) 569-0116 (home)
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