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Re: Arms into wings

In a message dated 3/5/99 12:14:22 PM, Patrick.Norton@state.me.us writes:

<< How can photographic evidence establish anything as a basal bird   
characteristic? >>

We have photos of gulls, eagles, flamingos, ducks, blackbirds, and ostriches
engaged in "under the wing" sheltering activities.
    It's not the photo that does it. It's the identified behavior in a wide
range of species. Perhaps this can never "establish" the trait as basal, but
it can make it extremely uncomfortable for anyone arguing that modern birds
developed wing feather brooding recently and independently. As we pile on more
examples, such critics will have to say that convergent evolution happened
separately in the great majority of modern species.
    Although you may be right about limitations with modern photos vs, say,
finding an Archaeopteryx skeleton sheltering five baby skeletons, still the
photos have their place. We have found many photos already, and want to reach
some sort of "ultimate" conclusion, such as, more than half of all birds do
it, or 23% do, or 90% do, etc. Whatever the percent is, we are certain that it
is substantial enough to make our case, but we are continuing to gather more
data. Hence the search for even more photos than we already have presented in
our Dinofest 98 paper.
    Toim Hopp