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Re: Feather Flap

----- Original Message -----
From: "Michael Habib" <mhabib5@jhmi.edu>
Sent: Tuesday, June 05, 2007 3:45 AM

I agree that there is a very real chance that the lack of tertiaries in Archaeopteryx, at least, is an artifact.

Oops. I only thought about the apparent lack of secondaries in *Caudipteryx*, not that of tertiaries in Archie.

However, whether Archie had tertiaries or not, the fact that the tertiaries of birds look like an afterthought, a quick fix to fill a gap as opposed to remiges that are attached to the humerus, does look to me like the primaries and secondaries evolved first. The brooding scenario fits this, as do many other of the more terrestrial scenarios for wing evolution. Parachuting is more difficult to reconcile with this (though not impossible -- *Rhacophorus*), and gliding... I don't know how. :-)

The more likely explanation, at least for Archaeopteryx, is that the
tertiaries (if present) would likely have been lying right over the
body of the animal at death in most of the better Archie specimens
(based on humeral positions).  As such, they would be destroyed during
preparation to uncover the skeleton of the specimen.

Or the slab split between the bones and the rock, so that the tertiaries are hidden in the counterslab to this day.