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Re: New refs....



They have the legs, lower back vertebrae, and part of the wings on the slab. 
The leg feathers are shorter and less aerodynamic than the wing feathers, but 
Zhou says they are more aerodynamic than those of Archaeopteryx. He envisions 
the leg feathers serving as a brake or rudder to help landing in birds with 
reduced tails and without the long tail feathers of modern birds. The 23 
October New Scientist will have a short report. The Nature paper is at 
http://info.nature.com/cgi-bin24/DM/y/eQof0BgQGC0Ch0ULx0AL

At 8:10 PM +0200 10/20/04, Alessandro Marisa wrote:
>Dear Listmembers I think that this new paper could interested someone,
>expecially the Theropod/Bird fun.
>Zhang F. and Zhou Z. 2004 Leg feathers in an Early Cretaceous bird. Nature
>n°431.
>Follow the abstract:
>Here the authors describe a fossil of an enantiornithine bird from the Early
>Cretaceous period in China that has substantial plumage feathers attached to
>its upper leg (tibiotarsus). The discovery could be important in view of the
>relative length and aerodynamic features of these leg feathers compared with
>those of the small 'four-winged' gliding dinosaur Microraptor and of the
>earliest known bird, Archaeopteryx. They may be remnants of earlier long,
>aerodynamic leg feathers, in keeping with the hypothesis that birds went
>through a four-winged stage during the evolution of flight.
>

-- 
Jeff Hecht, science & technology writer
jeff@jeffhecht.com; http://www.jeffhecht.com
Boston Correspondent: New Scientist magazine
Contributing Editor: Laser Focus World
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v. 617-965-3834; fax 617-332-4760