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Re: Florida and fingers



Alan Brush wrote,

<<>I'm sorry to dredge up old news, but I haven't heard Gauthier's arguments.
Could someone give a summary?

You can find the entire article as Wagner & Gauthier (1999) in Proc. Natl.
Acad. Sci 96: 5111-5116. The title is;

1,2,3=2,3,4: A solution to the problem of the homology of the digits in the
avian hand.>>

I just got the paper on line.  VERY intriguing stuff; should have implications 
for a wide range of paleo and embryological problems.

Certainly better than the alternative, which is (_contra_ Feduccia) to suppose 
that four-and five-fingered theropods are merely convergent on three-fingered 
types (including birds).

Feduccia's response doesn't even really touch on the main points of the paper 
(Why didn't the same thing happen to theropod feet?  Hm.  Could it be because 
all five toes are STILL THERE?) and betrays a distinct lack of understanding of 
recent genetic and embryological findings (i.e. that the genes don't specify 
"digit I", "digit II", etc.; they specify medial/lateral, palmar/plantar, etc.)

I wonder what Feduccia makes of the fact that the main axis of development in 
salamanders runs through digit II (of four)!

Anyway, I feel better now.

Best,
Nick P.