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Archaeopteryx with bird book, was Re: Archaeopteryx flight



I spend half an hour with Archie skeleton drawing and
bird book.

Result:
- A. gathered most or all food on ground,
- A. walked around like a pigeon a lot, but did not
run fast,
- A. in danger flew and hid in bushes or trees,
- A. flew slowly, for short distances, but manoevred
well between branches,
- A. had small home range,
- A. inhabited semi-open micro-habitat with lots of
shrub.

The closest live model of A. which I found are coucals
(Centropus) from Africa nad Asia. The closest well
known birds by locomotion are doves and pigeons
(Streptopelia, Macropygia, Columba) on ground, but
they fly much better and magpies (Pica) in flight
which seem to be more adapted for trees.

Wing and tail structure. A. seems to have:
- short, very rounded wings
- long, rather broad, round tail
It fits:
- birds which fly little, are adapted to manoevring
between branches: cuckoos, coucals, doves, touracos,
magpies, sparrowhawks.
I does not fit:
- birfds flying a lot have longer wings, shorter tail:
crows, pigeons, waders etc.

Leg structure. A. seems to have:
- comparatively long "tibia"
- comparatively SHORT "tarsus"
- comparatively SHORT toes
- straight claws.
It fits:
- birds which walk a lot, but do not run: coucals,
pigeons, doves, some crows.
It does NOT fit:
- runners have much longer "tarsus": roadrunner,
pheasants etc.
- tree climbers (a guild of birds which hop between
branches, flying from tree to tree) have long toes and
curved claws: touracos, parrots, kokako.
- fly and sit birds, which fly almost any distance
have shorter "tibia" and "tarsus": rollers,
kingfishers.

Caveats:
- Coucals and related cuckoos inhabit semi-open
habitat with shrub, but this can mean anything from
rainforest with gaps and secondary growth, to
semidesert with dense riverside shrubs.
- I assume that A. could be hunted by some pterosaurs.
Otherwise, it could fly longer distances, being
invulnerable in the air.
- Wing claws of A. could help it climbing, but feet
are not good for this.
- There are zillions of A. restorations. However,
before proposing it was good flyer, ground runner,
tree climber etc. please LOOK at the bird book, look
at wings, tails, leg and toe structure of birds having
the same lifestyle.

Jerzy Dyczkowski



        
                
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