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Re: Sapeornis and other Mesozoic Birds

Michael Habib wrote:

There is the additional issue that traits such as "used for powered flight" are difficult to demonstrate. Granted, the ability to use powered flight is something that we've gotten better at detecting (I've been working on a method that refines such analyses further, in fact), but it still seems a cumbersome trait to use in clade definitions.

Agreed. There is still no unanimity on whether _Archaeopteryx_ was a powered flier. As you say, there is no way we are ever going to be able to demonstrate this, so using behavior as a defining character strikes me as a wild goose chase.