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Re: To climb or not to climb

Larry Febo wrote:

<Not only was the grasping foot with reversed hallux an aid in perching   
on narrow branches, but the further development of the wing and flight   
resulted in the maneuverability necessary to negotiate the intertwining

Interesting. I would very much like to see someone investigate the   
aerodynamic effect of the carpometacarpus on flight. I suspect that its   
effects are (as suggested above) on manueverability, not on basic   
propulsion or lift. Once flight evolved, there would be likely be heavy   
selection pressure for improvements in manueverability---which to me   
makes it curious why so long a period passed between the origin of flight   
in birds and the appearance of the carpometacarpus.  But the fossil   
record seems to show that, when it finally came along, it evolved very   
quickly. Or perhaps I should say that the fossil record does not disprove   
the hypothesis that it evolved quickly.

Patrick Norton