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Re: Jurassic Park 4 Script Review

Scott Hartman wrote:

Sure, Microraptor was utilizing its feathers in an aerodynamic fashion, but it is not at all obvious that is was the type of flight that you are thinkng of when you say it was "incapable of a running takeoff." Everyone thinks that the ground-up origin of flight means learning to fly from the ground, rather than just, say, leaping after prey (and in the case of Microraptor, getting some really good 'hangtime').

I'm not clear what you mean here. When you say "leaping after prey" do you mean leaping off the ground in pursuit of terrestrial prey? If so, why is this better than just simply running after the prey (i.e., the "old-fashioned" way)?

Oh, and I just got back from Japan, where I saw numerous Microraptor specimens, with the "buttfans" in different positions of folding up against the leg.

That's exciting news. I wonder, though, if the folded-up feathers reflect the condition in life, or are taphonomic artefacts (as suggested for the 'spreadeagled' posture).

And if the fold up out of the way, Microraptor and all other dromaeosaurs are well adapted for running. Butt fans = contol rudders. Perfect for landing on prey that doesn't want you there (frogs, mammals, or whatnot in the case of Microraptor).

I totally agree with the last point. But the elaborate aerodynamic plumage appears to me to be overspecialized for simply running and jumping on prey. However, the _Microraptor_ plumage does appear appropriate for assailing terrestrial prey from above, when aerial control is essential for the descent. IMHO.

It _would_ be nice to get full fluff, complete with tail fans and wings on the JP 'raptors.

What would _Velociraptor_ use them for...?


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