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Whenever anyone sees a long-legged theropod, it seems the first thing they
think is "sprinter". However, long legs have evolved several times among
Theropoda (Neornithes, at least) for a very different purpose -- striding
through water and mud.
Could this be the case with _Caudipteryx_? It does come from lacustrine
sediments (although correct me if I'm wrong about its habitat).
I was reminded of a creature in Dougal Dixon's _The New Dinosaurs_ -- a
heron-like pterosaur. It used its wings to form a sort of "parasol" which
helped it catch fish in two way -- the fish were drawn to the shade, and
the problem of glare from the sun reflecting off the water's surface was
removed. (I'm sure this must be based on some real animal, like most of
the creatures in that book). Could this also be the purpose of
_Caudipteryx_'s undersized wings?
Just some speculation--
--T. Mike Keesey <firstname.lastname@example.org>
DINOSAUR WEB PAGES -- http://www.gl.umbc.edu/~tkeese1/dinosaur/index.htm