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Re: Precocial nestling



----- Original Message -----
From: "Christopher Taylor" <ck.taylor@auckland.ac.nz>
Sent: Thursday, October 21, 2004 11:07 PM

> In today's Science:
http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/306/5696/653

Wow.

Look at its tail... it has an unfused pygostyle...
http://www.sciencemag.org/content/vol306/issue5696/images/large/306_653_F1.jpeg
:-o

Unfortunately even the resolution of this big picture is too low to either
do reliable tracings or to have a closer look at what the pygostyle
vertebrae really look like. They seem to have chevrons...

>     Precocial because it has a full down covering.

Mmmm... no, because it has the sheaths (consistently spelled "sheets") of
wing & tail feathers, which means that very soon after hatching those
feathers would have been functional.

> It's an enantiornithine.

With not much more than 50 % probability, and perhaps (for example, if
Mickey's preliminary results are anywhere near right and Enantiornithes as
currently understood is heavily paraphyletic) much less. Very few characters
are mentioned in the text, and at least some of those are plesiomorphies.