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Re: Phytodinosauria status - digit loss.



In a message dated 6/7/01 8:46:47 PM EST, MarkEShelly@aol.com writes:

<< Regardless, the loss / reduction of digit V and the first metacarpal being 
 offset could be explained as a result of a vertical (quadrupedal on 
occasion) 
 gait in its very early stages, the reduction of the IV digit can not.   >>

Reduction of digit IV is explained by the formation of the avian wing. It's 
not a climbing problem solution (nor is digit V reduction for that matter), 
it's a flying problem solution. Alternative explanations are of course 
possible, but I'm only interested in alternative explanations that improve a 
wing, because that is what >actually happened<. An explanation of manual 
digital reduction that ignores the evolutionary development of the wing falls 
into the category of a miracle: the digits just happened to become reduced 
for some reason or other, and wow, they miraculously became fit for flying 
(along with all those other adaptations that appeared for reasons other than 
flying).

Given arboreal lifestyle, feathers, small size, lightweight construction, and 
enough time, avian flight follows almost automatically.