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RE: Archaeopteryx feathers



Michael Lovejoy wrote:

>  "Let's look at _Archaeopteryx_.  It shows primaries on the manus,
> secondaries on the ulna, but no remiges on the humerus.  No tertiaries 
> have been identified in any _Archaeopteryx_ specimen: the inner arm was 
> devoid of flight feathers."
> 
> No disrespect to Tim Williams, but is this true? It flies (doh!) in the
> face of every reconstruction I've seen, but looking at the specimens I
> can see what he's getting at (and I quite like the idea). I know the
> quote is a year old, but I'd be interested in people's ideas on this. 
 
No offence taken, HP Lovejoy.  :-)  The quote is a year old, and at this
point in time, I suspect that the absence of tertial feathers from
_Archaeopteryx_ is a preservational artifact.  Ditto for body contour
feathers.  

I would add, that the absence of an "inner wing" from _Archaeopteryx_ (if
real) would not necessarily prevent it from flying.


Tim


------------------------------------------------------------ 

Timothy J. Williams 

USDA-ARS Researcher 
Agronomy Hall 
Iowa State University 
Ames IA 50014 

Phone: 515 294 9233 
Fax:   515 294 3163