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Re: Archaeopteryx flight: Ostrom's views



In a message dated 95-10-29 18:25:39 EST, david.abbott@rmag.org (David
Abbott) writes:

>As for the long legs, Ostrom believes that Archaeopteryx was a cursorial
>predator (insectivore?) like the roadrunner or secretary bird are today.
>These modern birds fly quite well but use their feet to catch their
>prey. No reason Archaeopteryx couldn't have done the same.
>
>

Indeed, it is entirely possible that we have "caught" _Archaeopteryx_ in the
act of evolving from a flying form _into_ a species of fully cursorial,
flightless bird--the kind that often appears as an island endemic.
Dromaeosaurids, which all occur later than _Archaeopteryx_ in the fossil
record and are cladistically virtually indistiguishable from it (cf. Paul,
1988, Holtz, 1994, Chiappe, 1995), probably descended from a closely related
but even more cursorial common ancestor.

G.O.