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Re: The Epidendrosaurus and aye-aye



----- Original Message -----
From: "Brett Booth" <brettbooth@worldnet.att.net>
Sent: Monday, October 07, 2002 7:37 PM

> I would say that the elongated third finger is an early offshot of flight.
> Before Archie when bird were first experimenting. A small group tried
> attaching the flight feathers to the third digit instead of the second,
> leaving the second digit free for grasping.

By no means impossible, but to me this sounds like wings must have evolved
twice. (If not some frameshift... grr... ;-) )

> These creatures are just the
> remnants of a branch that eventually died out. Perhapse they couldn't
> compete, the third finger couldn't be as reinforcd as the second (in
birds)
> so they weren't as stable in flight thus eventually going extinct.

Then why did they survive for so long that they could drive the adaptation
so far, and for so long that we find them as fossils? Assuming possible
reinforcement is really different. Archie's 2nd finger is hardly reinforced,
after all.

> While I find this interesting, it's not relly that shocking. Just imagine
> the other failed attempts.

Why do you think there were several?

> I watched the Aye-Aye on the TV the other day. The animal uses a complex
> technique for finding food (ears, nose, teeth AND finger) Epidendrosaurus
> doesn't seam specilized enough to do the same thing.

Yeah. Now for the inner ears and a nice little skull endocast of the
dinosaur... :-)

I just hope there are enough paleontologists to work on Wucaiwan, too! :-)
The SVP abstract about that place (Xinjiang, pretty certainly Late Jurassic,
chock full of tritylodontids) sounds sooo promising... an
?ornithomimosaur... a ??troodontid... :-9