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Ducks present and past (was Re: ARE ORNITHOPODS BORING?)

Brent Jones wrote:

>>> "Tim Williams" <twilliams_alpha@hotmail.com> 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 around
>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

USDA/ARS Researcher
Agronomy Hall
Iowa State University
Ames IA 50014

Phone: 515 294 9233
Fax:   515 294 3163

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