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Re: Birds of Russia and Mongolia

Zoe Heraklides wrote:

Evgeny Kurochkin was one of the authors of the paper in *Science* that
claimed that Longisquama's plume-like appendages were feathers (or at least
ancestral homologs of bird feathers). I don't actually belive it myself.

Make no mistake, the authors have stuck to their guns in asserting that _Longisquama_'s dorsal "integumentary appendages" are indeed feathers - rather than just scales or membranes. This is in spite of the refutation of the feather identity by Hans-Dieter Sues and Robert Reisz (2000; _Nature_ 408: 428) and unenthusiastic comments by ornithologist Richard Prum (in Stokstad, 2000; _Science_ 288: 2124-2125)

(I have this on good authority from one of the authors of the original paper [_Science_ 2000; 288: 2202-2205] who was a tad displeased with comments of mine regarding _Longisquama_'s position [or, the way I see it, lack of a position] in avian evolution. The debate over _Longisquama's "feathers" may resurface soon in a high-circulation U.S. science journal.)



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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