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RE: Phylogeny of Maniraptora



_Microraptor gui_ may have held its "hind wings" underneath it in an
inverted "V" during active flapping, only unfolding them intermittently to
provide additional lift as it rests its outstretched "forewings" during
passive gliding.  Certainly many birds glide between active flapping phases,
just as bicyclists coast between active pedaling phases.

And Gregory S. Paul has pointed out that _M. gui_ (as well as the juvenile
_Sinornithosaurus_) had hands and arms better configured for anchoring and
controlling long remiges than _Archaeopteryx_ had, and so we see that _M.
gui_ sports wings with relatively longer feathers.  Hence, shorter forelimbs
relative to _Archaeopteryx_ do not equate to reduced flight capability.

---------Ralph W. Miller III
         ralph.miller@alumni.usc.edu