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_Archaeopteryx_ and the Evolution of Bird Flight

I will leave this thread to those who know their anatomy and physiology
better than me, but I do have one suggestion.  Get your manus on a copy of
the following book: 

Shipman, Pat. 1998.  _Taking Wing: *Archaeopteryx* and the Evolution of
Bird Flight_. Simon & Schuster, New York. ISBN 0-684-81131-6.

This book looks at every specimen of _Archaeopteryx_; how modern birds fly;
the evolution of flight in pterosaurs, bats and insects; feather evolution;
metabolic implications; _Sinosauropteryx_; theropod-bird phylogeny vs.
other hypotheses; "ground up" versus "trees down" origin of bird flight... 
Not only are various ideas considered, but opposing viewpoints are offered
where such exist (i.e. just about every idea proposed).  The objections to
and the flaws inherent to various hypotheses are exposed.  In sum, the
author appears to me to be objectively reporting on the whole subject,
letting scientists have their say without the usual partisan
editorializing.  I haven't gotten through the whole book, and I don't want
to misinterpret the contents, so I will leave it to you to read it and
report back your thoughts.  The most rigorous among you will want to read
every article cited in the bibliography, of course, but this book looks to
me like a good primer on the subject. 

By the way, the book is 336 pages long, with several small black-and-white
illustrations, costs $25 (U.S.) and comes highly recommended by Jared M.
Diamond, Jack Horner, Kevin Padian, Louis Jacobs, and Lawrence Witmer. 
(I'm reading a library copy that's due back in a week).

That's your homework assignment; pop quiz some time next week (just

-- Ralph Miller III     gbabcock@best.com