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RE: A four-winged Archaeopteryx?

> From: owner-DINOSAUR@usc.edu [mailto:owner-DINOSAUR@usc.edu]On Behalf Of
> Denver Fowler

[snippage about long hindleg feathers in bald eagle]

> 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,

I agree with this speculation as a good possibility. Note that warm-weather 
raptorial birds have long hindleg feathers, too.

> but I'm sure a study has been
> conducted (again, not considered by Longrich).

I wouldn't be so sure that such a study has been conducted. There's been too 
little work on the functional morphology of living
animals, and especially of non-microscopic structures.

> 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.
Or help steer while coming down out of the trees.

                Thomas R. Holtz, Jr.
        Senior Lecturer, Vertebrate Paleontology
Department of Geology           Director, Earth, Life & Time Program
University of Maryland          College Park Scholars
        Mailing Address:
                Building 237, Room 1117
                College Park, MD  20742

Phone:  301-405-4084    Email:  tholtz@geol.umd.edu
Fax (Geol):  301-314-9661       Fax (CPS-ELT): 301-405-0796