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RE: Letters in the new Discover issue



Mary Kirkaldy wrote:

Check out the letters section of the August Discover Magazine - "Preparing for Takeoff"
http://www.discover.com/issues/aug-05/departments/rs/
for a delicious exchange of ideas between Stephen Czerkas and Mark Norell.

By the way, when can we expect Volume 2 of the "Dinosaur Museum Journal" to come out? Volume 1 came out almost exactly four years ago (August 1, 2002 - according to Czerkas). What's the delay for Vol 2? Exhaustive peer-review, perhaps.


Maybe Vol 2 will feature those wind-tunnel and/or biomechanical studies which demonstrate that _Microraptor_ (or "Cryptovolans") can fly. On that point, it is silly for anybody to suggest that they "know" that dromaeosaurs could fly. We don't even have a consensus on whether _Archaeopteryx_ was capable of powered flight - or if it just glided, or attained some intermediate level of aerodynamic locomotion (like "phugoid gliding").

Finally, contrary to what Czerkas asserted, cladistics does NOT claim that birds evolved from an obligately ground-dwelling ancestor. On the matter of the ecomorphology of the first birds and their relatives of birds, current phylogenies are congruent with either a "trees-down" or "ground-up" origin of flight, or something between these two rather arbitrary extremes.

Cheers

Tim