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Been gone from the list for a week and a few days and I need to catch up
on my email and I'm doing it in one message...
Behaviors can be very valid synapomorphies. I can count many instances
where behaviors have been used to link groups, such as stilts and
flamingos and also define a group, such as the classical Coraciiformes.
In ornithology behaviors as well as parasites, waxy secretions,
biogeographic range, and other things are used instead of anatomy and
genetics to figure relations.
FEATHERS AND PHYSIOLOGY
An animal that has feathers does not necessarily be endothermic.
Woodhoopoes (and all Coraciiformes) do not have great temperature
control even though they have feathers. Though they are endothermic
tachymetabolic homeotherms during most of the day, they are not so much
during nights, where they need to seek refuge in a tree trunk to
withstand hypothermia. Feathers, especially downy feathers, can provide
good insulation, but this would be advantageous to both endotherms and
There is no evidence of any gastroliths in any of the Archaeopteryx
specimens. Alan Feduccia has noted that the enantiornithine furcula is
similiar to that of Opisthocomus, suggesting a large crop. The
similiarity of the Archaeopteryx and enantiornithine furcula, though not
identical, may suggest that Archaeopteryx may have had a large crop.
The biggest argument against this hypothesis is that there is no
evidence that neither Archaeopteryx nor the enantiornithines were
frugivores. Indeed Eoalulavis shows shrimp still in its gut.
And congratulations to Jamie Haarden (is that how its spelled?).
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