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As far as locomotor function is concerned, corvids make a rather poor model for Archaeopteryx. Corvids are very strong fliers, and appear to have some of the highest forelimb loadings among birds (especially for their size). Feeding behavior might be similar, and terrestrial locomotion could be vaguely similar as well (though Corvids naturally have the typically neornithine femur position and reduced caudofemoralis).

I would also be somewhat hesitant of the reconstructed aspect ratios for Archaeopteryx. Despite the well preserved wing impressions, many reconstructions have not been careful in estimating wing shape.

Hope that helps, --Mike Habib

P.S. It was good to see so many of you at the DML SVP breakfast.

On Sunday, October 23, 2005, at 01:17 PM, Patrick Norton wrote:

Ian Paulsen wrote:

I think that the magpie would be a good modern day model for Archie behavior wise, any comments?>

Members of the Corvidae in general have been suggested by many people as modern analogs for Archie. This is speculation, of course, apparently based mostly on similarities in overall size and wing aspect ratios and the lack of evidence of gastroliths in Archie (suggesting it may have been a meat eater, like the Corvids). It probably couldn't fly as well as crows and magpies, though, so it's lifestyle had to be somewhat different in that respect. If gastroliths are found in some future specimen of Archie, however, this might suggest a different diet as well.