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Re: Longipteryx chaoyangensis (Aves, Enantiornithes?)

From: "Jaime A. Headden" <qilongia@yahoo.com>
Date: Sat, 26 May 2001 16:24:29 -0700 (PDT)

  Chris Collinson (chris_collinson@hotmail.com) writes to
suggest to me that this bird is a possible juvenile, thus the
lack of "true" feathers is ontogenetic.

  My impression of the fossil is that it is adult: short
hindlimbs in reference to the thorax, the definition of the
manus and carpal elements is well-ossified,

How are you able to tell, with regards to the ossification of the manus? Is it simply experience, or an characteristic which sticks out like a sore thumb, pardon the pun, and which i'm not aware of.

and the head is
small with adult-appearing condition of the form of the elements
that I can see; uncinates, if truly preserved, appear during
fledging in birds, for the most part when they ossify. I may be
wrong, but this specimens seems to have died when it was fairly >mature.

If it is adult, then why do the authors seem to believe it could fly. According to their abstract it had "powerful flying ability". It's hard to believe it could have even lifted a inch off the ground without flight feathers. Also, why do they think it had special adaptation for an aquatic diet? Apart that long skull, which could be considered by some to be reminiscent of a shorebird but the perching adaptations that are clearly visible i.e. the reversed halux, and the long grasping arms
do not scream "AQUATIC DIET" to me. But then again , I'm not an expert.

To me, the hindlegs seem to short for it to be a nonavian theropod dinosaur. It might then be a genuine Flightless bird. That would also explain the lack of feathers. Is that a pygostyle on the end of its tail? Or the beginning of a incomplete dinosaurian tail? I can't tell.
I hope the PDF link is fixed soon!


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