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Re: More on Birds, dinosaurs, and digits



On Sun, 30 Nov 1997, Toby White wrote:

> (2) The chicken pes clearly has five
> digits at some points in development.

I don't want to get terribly off-subject here, but this brings something
to mind that I wonder if anyone can add to.  Looking though a book of
George Stubb lithographs, I came upon his illustrated Dorking Hen, and
thereby learned that Dorkings (and after further readings, Spanish Hens
also) have five digits on the foot. Common sense would tell me that the
fifth toe has for some reason developed, but from looking at pictures,
this doesn't seem so. In Stubb's lithograph, the hen appears to have two
reversed digits, toe I and a duplicate thereof, perhaps?  And in another
photograph I dug up of a Dorking, digit II appears to be the duplicated
toe--but it originates higher on the tarsus so that it is held clear of
the ground, and is flexed back.  These photos are pretty much all I've
found, but I'm looking for more.  I've always assumed that hyperdactylics
are random mutations (aside from whales and icthyosaurs, etc.) yet unless
the Dorking's extra toe is actually it s fifth, it would appear that this
fluke is a norm for this breed.  Anyone know more?

-Carolyn Lyle
celyle@iupui.edu