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Re: Archaeopteryx and Parental Care

On Tue, 5 Feb 2002 15:05:41   
 Williams, Tim wrote:
>Just finished reading Carey and Adams' paper in the German journal
>Archaeopteryx.  Many thanks to Jeff Hecht for providing me with a copy.
>The fundamental premise is that the need to protect and sequester young led
>to the development of long feathers on the forelimbs and the evolution of

I haven't read this paper, but based on HP Williams' post it seems as if some 
of it may be flawed (although I am unable to say so without reading it).  
However, the list's discussion of the issue reminded me of another interesting 
paper published in the recent Ostrom Symposium volume.  Hopefully the majority 
of the list has not taken after HP Mortimer and has ordered the book :-))

Anyhow, Colleen Farmer* presented many data that support her hypothesis that 
extensive parental care in avians provided the initial push for the evolution 
of avian endothermy.  She states that the initial advantage of endothermy 
provided offspring with a warm environment during development, and enabled 
parents to better incubate their eggs, care for their young, etc. Among the 
most convincing pieces of evidence that supports her hypothesis is that the 
hypothalamo-hypophysial axis of the brain controls both body temperature 
(regulates temperature by panting, sweating, shivering, etc.) and regulates the 
secretion of hormones that control reproduction.  This common mechanism gives a 
plausible view of how endothermy/parental care evolved in concert.  

Of course, it's only hypothesis, but her arguments seem to be supported.  
Perhaps some of Carey and Adams' arguments may relate to Carrier's study.  The 
need to protect and care for young may be an all-important behaviorial strategy 
that gets too little attention.


*Farmer, C.G. 2002. A new perspective on the origin of endothermy. New 
Perspectives on the Origin and Early Evolution of Birds: Proceedings of the 
International Symposium in Honor of John H. Ostrom. J. Gauthier and L.F. Gall, 
eds. Nwe Haven: Peabody Museum of Natural History. p. 389-409.

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