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FW: SICB Report, part 1 (long)
Nick Pharris wrote...
One thing I haven't seen mentioned in this thread yet is that modern
birds, unlike non-avian theropods, have (nearly) immobile femora that, as
far as I can tell, stick straight forward, effectively displacing the
"hip" joint (actually the knee) to a position under the wings.
Discussions of modification in the theropod hind and pelvis relating to
locomotion can be found in...
Gatesy, S.M. 1990. Caudofemoral musculature and the evolution theropod
locamotion. Paleobiology 16:170-186.
Gatesy, S.M. 1994. Functional evolution of the hindlimb and tail from basal
theropods to birds. in J.J. Thomason (ed.), Funtional
Morphology in Vertebrate Paleontology, pp. 219-234. Cambridge University
Press, New York.
Gatesy, S.M., & K.P. Dial. 1996. Locamotor modules and the evolution of avian
flight. Evolution 50:331-340.
Gatesy, S.M., & K.M. Middleton. Bipedalism, flight, and the evolution of
theropod locomotor diversity. Journal of Vertebrate
I haven't read any of these except the last, which mainly speculates that
flight allowed birds to do a lot more diverse and interesting things with thier
hindlimbs rather then going into functional morphology in a lot of detail. I
think the others mainly talk about changes in musculature (including the fact
that theropods probably had more back swing in thier femurs due to the
caudofemoralis [sic?]), but they my also mention how this mpre constant forward
orientation of the femur relates to balance problems from shrinking the tail.