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Re: bird flight

Ken, I was wondering when someone would point this
out--I think it has tremendous implications for
pterosaur flight as well as for birds. In the case of
at some pterosaurs (Pteranodon ingens, for example)I
suspect there is an added factor in that the outer 4th
finger phalanges appear to have been capable of
considerable torsional rotation, based on a "study" of
these I once did on paper. You're right--rich acedemic
pastures for graduate students! --Mark Hallett   
--- Ken Carpenter <Kcarpenter@dmns.org> wrote:
> In watching the documentary "Winged Migration"
> (briefly discussed previously on the DML), I note
> that the wing tips of various birds do not move in
> the exact same pattern (I use wing tip simply
> because it is an easy reference point to trace bird
> wing movement). Although closely related birds have
> similar wing tip movement patterns, more distantly
> related birds don't. This got me wondering if the
> "one-size-fits-all" model of bird flight is correct.
> The tremendeous variation in wing shape (long,
> tapering of gliders, versus short, broad of
> flappers) would suggest that there may be more
> subtle variation in wing movement than realized.
> Certainly the variation in humeral heads among birds
> suggests that this may be so. The standard model of
> bird wing motion is the figure "8". In some footage
> in the flm of a duck flapping its wings a little,
> the wing tip clearly did not move through the figure
> 8, rather it seemed to move in a "O" at the most.
> Perhaps bird flight needs a new assessment!
>  (graduate students: hint, hint). 
> Kenneth Carpenter

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