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Re: New Refs: The Condor

Bruce Woollatt (brucewoollatt@hotmail.com) wrote:

<So, how does one determine remige length in extinct, volant birds for
which there are no feather impressions? Is there a way to determine this
just by looking at the wing bones of a particular specimen?>

  There is no way, of course. Feather length various among related
species, and so does shape, as is clear from selected columbids. That
birds from Liaoning have a tendency to preserve feather traces is
promising in this regard, as in *Archaeopteryx*, for which we have
extraordinary impressions, but other fossils tend to be scrappy given the
Mesozoic. Eocene birds from the Green River and the younger Messel Shales
show even better preservation than any Mesozoic bird, so this data would
be useful for these animals, but not much for others. There is, I think,
like osteological data to support feather length except where the shape of
the arm and proportions therein conform to recognized arm "classes" among
birds, such as flappers versus gliders versus non-volants versus soarers.
Only then can we speculate about feather length, but its hardly


Jaime A. Headden

  Little steps are often the hardest to take.  We are too used to making leaps 
in the face of adversity, that a simple skip is so hard to do.  We should all 
learn to walk soft, walk small, see the world around us rather than zoom by it.

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