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Re: JFC-Bloodiest Battle ??

To return to a long abandoned thread, when the flight analysis of Microraptor showed that the feather arrangement as preserved did not give the expected gliding path, re-examination of the feathers yielded an arrangement that did give the expected path and was viewed as success. Maybe the new arrangement was correct, or maybe it just satisfied expectations. Maybe a much more vertical drop WAS the hunting strategy of Microraptor and not too relevant to the origin of flight. Or maybe gliding developed from such a death from above hunting technique.

Indeed - I think one of the primary weaknesses of that particular study was, in fact, the expectations. Not so much the expectations of glide angle, but rather the idea that the hindlimbs must have been used in a static position as auxiliary "wings". It's more likely, based on preserved positions and some basic aerodynamics, that the foils were used for braking and maneuvers (especially sharp turns). Of course, my expectation might be wrong, too, but it highlights the fact that tunnel-vision is worrisome. At the same time, Scott's earlier observation that we should keep ourselves constrained by the data at hand also follows.


--Mike H.

Michael Habib, M.S. PhD. Candidate Center for Functional Anatomy and Evolution Johns Hopkins School of Medicine 1830 E. Monument Street Baltimore, MD 21205 (443) 280 0181 habib@jhmi.edu