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More ado about Archaeopteryx



     The recent posting about Archie prompts me to comment on an 
     interesting feature in the Solnhofen specimen (P. Wellnhofer, 1988, 
     Ein neues examplar von Archaeopteryx.  Archaeopteryx 6: 1-30).  Pedal 
     digit IV has only four phalanges (including the ungual phalanx), 
     rather than the usual five.  Loss of one of the phalanges occurs in 
     other bird groups (e.g. dromornithids and some moa species).  However, 
     in all the instances that I know of, this loss of one of the digit IV 
     phalanges is characteristic of the entire species, rather than the 
     occasional odd individual of the species.  Does anybody out there know 
     of instances in extant bird species where there is a reduction in the 
     foot phalangeal count of aberrant individuals?