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RE: New claw paper, was RE: Early Birds Lived on the Ground



Chris Glen wrote: 

> OK, was holding off on posting a heads up to DML on the paper as there's the 
> issue of the online Supp 
> Data they've put online being an old draft rather than the final corrected 
> editor's version. I've been
> assured this will be rectified ASAP. bit of a shame... 

I have to say I really liked this paper.  Firstly because it reinforces my 
pre-conceived notions about early bird evolution, and that gives me a nice warm 
fuzzy feeling inside.  

The second reason is that it hammers home just how arbitrary and misleading the 
old "trees-down" vs "ground-up" dichotomy was (and still is).  Many modern 
birds divide their time between the trees and the ground - so why not the 
earliest birds and their immediate ancestors?  Unfortunately, too many 
hypotheses have assumed that "arboreal" and "cursorial" were mutually exclusive 
when it comes to the behavior of pro-avians.  'BCF' comes to mind (but then 
again, BCF is just plain silly).  Other ideas also fall into this trap, such as 
the hypothesis that pro-avians glided from tree to tree and rarely ventured 
onto terra firma.  This goes against the grain of the entire osteology of 
theropods, especially the hindlimb morphology.

It'd be interesting to see how avisaurids wash up in all this, given that this 
is one non-neornithean Mesozoic bird group that shows anatomical evidence in 
support of specialized perching.  

Cheers

Tim

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