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Re: The Epidendrosaurus and aye-aye

Well, if protofeathers weren't fixed on one finger yet when the split
between "ayeayesaurians" and other maniraptors, one could easily get
feathers on the third digit over the second in Epidendrosaurus, and feathers
on the second in the surviving lineage and its decesendants. Seems to be
simple variation on a primitive state to me would allow such a scenario.
Then again, my knowledge of early flight isn't the best, so...

Student of Geology
400 E. McConnell Drive #11
Northern Arizona University
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AIM: TarryAGoat

----- Original Message -----
From: "Daniel Bensen" <dbensen@bowdoin.edu>
To: <rtravsky@uwyo.edu>; <dinosaur@usc.edu>
Sent: Monday, October 07, 2002 4:36 PM
Subject: RE: The Epidendrosaurus and aye-aye

> >>Grooming? Or perhaps something related to mating? (tickling is the
> only thing I can think of there)
> <<
> Goochi-goo. :)  But relegating an entire digit to the purpose and making
> it longer than all the rest?  Kind of extreme.
> >>I would say that the elongated third finger is an early offshot of
> flight.<<
> mmmmmh, I don't know.  Yes, natural selection gets its variation from
> mutation, but I find it hard to imagine a mutation that switches the
> flight feathers from one digit to another.  Controlling whether flight
> feathers grow _at all_ would probably be simpler.  No, it looks like
> there really was some sort of selective pressure operating to make
> Epidendrosaurus have a long finger, something strong enough to overcome
> the near-universal middle-finger-is-biggest rule.
> I'm thinking less and less of my aye-aye idea.  Certainly, a
> wood-pecker-like specialization is out of the question.  What about an
> insect-trap (no, that wasn't just a joke) would an elongated third
> finger make for a more efficient net?
> Dan