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Re:Feathers for brooding, (was: So here it is... my paper...)



> Did I hear my name mentioned?

Yes! =8-)

> <<What I do question is the idea that feathers were first developed for
the
> purpose of incubating a brood. I know this is a fairly wideheld opinion.>>
>
> Har! I am glad to see the speed with which the community has gone from
deep
> skepticism to warm reception -- if true.

I haven't read this anywhere other than the New Scientist ref.

> <<It seems to me that for the purpose of incubating a nest, a random
> arrangement of more plumulus feathery structures would suffice.>>
>
> If you are ostrich-size, perhaps. But Microraptor-size? A strong wind
would
> blow you away. Better hold those feathers in tight beside you.
> Watch out! A
> predator snapping at you. Too bad if your brooding feathers get you
> apprehended. Best to tuck them away. Moving through thick brush? What's
the
> word for "brush-odynamic?"

Bingo! This could even explain the semilunate carpal!
(that's not the word for "brush-odynamic" :-D )

> Mark and I believe that the debate on flight origins has given too much
> emphasis to locomotion, and too little on all the other selective
pressures
> birds have on their wing feathers.

Definitely.

> I hate to be a name dropper but at Dinofest 98, after my talk, John Ostrom
> came straight out of the audience and shook my hand. He said, "Thank you.
You
> have filled the last hole in my argument."

Impressive.

> One more thing, despairing of Don Wolberg ever publishing our first paper,
> Mark and I are finishing a second, which restates and adds to our original
> presentation at Dinofest. Anyone want to suggest an appropriate journal
for a
> hypothetical paper on the origins of brooding and birds?

Something widely available, please... :-[ The university's library here
doesn't have the Dinofest 98 volume, only that of 94.
Neues Jahrbuch für Geologie und Paläontologie? (I don't know how widespread
this is outside of Europe...)

> <<After that, some tetanuran invented lying on its eggs and holding them
with
> its arms. The arms of the famous brooding Oviraptor and ?Ingenia skeletons
> all circle the eggs in a way that if they had borne wing feathers, they
had
> covered the nests and shielded them from sun and rain (Hecht, 1998 <yes,
HP
> Jeff Hecht who mentioned this hypothesis by HP Tom Hopp in New
Scientist>).
> Apparently there was a strictly Darwinian advantage in lengthening the
arms
> and the feathers: longer arms = more wing area = bigger nests = room for
more
> eggs = more offspring.">>
>
> Thanks, David, for a very nicely encapsulated restatement of our idea.
Glad
> to see someone gets it.

=8-)

> <<I would argue that the requirement for a "larger nest" and hence room
for
> "more eggs and potential offspring" would be more appropriate for a
species
> that did >NOT< carefully brood and care for it`s young. A species that
took
> the extra time to brood it`s young, would also tend to provide ample care
and
> protection against predation, thereby necessitating >fewer eggs< and
> offspring, and in fact would not be able to provide such care for an
> excessive number of offspring!>>

Not if it doesn't have wing feathers. That's what the argument is about,
AFAIK.