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Re: Origin of Feathers



Jaime Headden wrote:
<Sitting on the nest suggests direct incubation, not mound incubating; the arm
thing could have been a fluke, but it is only a part of the riddle. That fact
that Ovi was _sitting_ there in the first place cannot be laid at the feet of
accidental or postmortem position, and predation, I'm sure, has been
discarded.>
I think we can dismiss the "fluke" arm position concern, and establish that
the nesting Oviraptors were not there by chance, or randomly set down on those
nests.  This can be done by comparing the AMNH specimen to the second nest
fossil, described by Dong and Currie. While the latter is unfortunately very
incomplete, several critical relationships are still there to be seen.  The
most interesting are the forearm and hand bones.  They are oriented almost
exactly as in the first Oviraptor, that is, reaching back to a position
outside the foot, and "clutching" the ring of eggs.  Furthermore, the hand is
in the parasagittal-with-slight-supination position that would be conducive to
covering the eggs with a set of primary "wing" feathers.
    Since both Oviraptors share this arm position, parsimony dictates that it
is no fluke.