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Re: Pro(to)avis

If uncascaded, Archie's tail would have functioned as a low-aspect ratio
lifting device. Consequently, it would have been capable of a large range
of lifing forces. I'm not sure about Archie's retricial movement, but if
the tail was capable of cascading, it would have greatly impacted the
lift/drag ratio, lowering maximum lift while greatly lowering maximum
drag -- but that isn't pertinent to our present discussion.

Could you expand on that? What is meant by 'cascading'? Feather arrangement?

Cascading would spread each of the feathers laterally so that they operated as independent little airfoils, greatly increasing the effective aspect ratio (but simultaneously creating other aerodynamic pitfalls -- for example, maximum lift capabiltiy would decrease).