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Re: A four-winged Archaeopteryx?
eagles have feathers on their hindlimbs just as long
as seen in the <old photos of> the Berlin
Archaeopteryx, but noone ever suggested they are 'four
winged'. Longrich fails to mention this in his paper
on the subject.
I don't know if these feathers have a function other
than for insulation (certainly in colder-claimate bird
like the snowy owl they have fine feathers even on the
toes), but they may be asymmetric (I suppose a more
bird-inclined person may know). I <speculatively>
suspect these feathers may be used to help steady the
legs for grasping prey, but I'm sure a study has been
conducted (again, not considered by Longrich). So even
if truly present, long hindlimb feathers do not
necessarily support the 4-winged hypothesis. Maybe
such feathers would be equally useful in a ground-up
hypothesis scenario: helping steer long leaps etc.
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