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Re: CNN: how first birds flew

At 10:03 AM 5/5/99 -0700, Betty Cunningham wrote:
>This is a CNN custom news article.  If teh URL doesn't work for you try
>registering on CNN.com for your own custom news to access the article
>Scientists Discover how First Birds Flew
>Reuters            05-MAY-99

I consider this premature, to say the least

>But palaeontologists at The Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County
>used aerodynamic calculations and fossil records to show that the oldest
>known bird, the 150-million-year-old Archaeopteryx, was quick enough to
>get a running start. 

So?  How does this demonstrate how flying *originated?  Naturally, once
flight has evolved, the animals would quickly evolve the ability to achieve
a running start!  There is no reason to suppose that _Archaeopteryx_ is
*that* basal.
>As a flier Archaeopteryx probably represents a late stage in the
>evolution of bird flight.

Yes indeed - which is why it is not particularly useful for determining the
earlier phases.

May the peace of God be with you.         sarima@ix.netcom.com