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Ducks present and past (was Re: ARE ORNITHOPODS BORING?)
Brent Jones wrote:
>>> "Tim Williams" <firstname.lastname@example.org> 02/14/01 04:14PM >>>
>Now, if someone can explain to me why Donald Duck walks out of the
>shower with a towel wrapped around his waste, then proceeds to walk
>in public with no pants on, then I'll die a happy man.
Well, it could have to do with the oils on his feathers. You know, how
ducks keep water away from >their skin? If Donald has a speech impediment,
he may also have some other genetic defects, >including a misplaced gene in
the part of his DNA that codes for the production of oils to coat his
>feathers. If that were true, the feathers would still be good for
insulation - but not when wet! So, >stepping out of the shower, he has to
dry off as quickly as possible in order to stay warm and alive.
I never considered the physiological implications. My question was more to
address why such an ardent exhibitionist as Donald Duck feels the need for
modesty when exiting a shower cubicle.
Anyway, while on the subject of ducks, I came across this paper:
Olson, S.L. (1999). The anseriform relationships of Anatalavis Olson and
Parris (Anseranatidae), with a new species from the lower Eocene London
Clay. Smithsonian Contributions to Paleobiology. 1999; (89): 231-243.
Abstract: "An associated partial skeleton, including the skull but lacking
legs, from the lower Eocene London Clay of Essex, England, possesses derived
characters of the coracoid and furcula that show it to belong to the
Anseranatidae, which previously had no fossil record. Except for its much
larger size, the humerus of this specimen is identical to that of Anatalavis
rex (Shufeldt) from the late Cretaceous or early Paleocene of New Jersey.
The Eocene specimen is described as a new species, Anatalavis oxfordi, and
the genus Anatalavis is transferred from the form-family Graculavidae to a
new subfamily, Anatalavinae, of the Anseranatidae. Anatalavis is
characterized by a very broad duck-like bill, a proportionately very short
and robust humerus, and an anterior portion of the pelvis resembling that of
ibises and other wading birds more than that of any known anseriform. Other
features of its osteology are unique within the order."
As the abstract says, Storrs Olson believes _Anatalavis_ to be most closely
related to the magpie goose among modern avians. Olson and Parris (1987)
previously reported _Anatalavis_ from New Jersey, as one of several species
of birds from the Navesink and Hornerstown formations. To anyone's
knowledge have either of these formations been pinned down to either late
Upper Cretaceous or early Paleocene?
Timothy J. Williams
Iowa State University
Ames IA 50014
Phone: 515 294 9233
Fax: 515 294 3163
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