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Re: Shaking up the bird family tree
Well, if we consider that we could induce teeth formation in chicken
beak, loss and regain of complex character do not seem to be so
True, but the switching of teeth is largely a regulation change. Tooth
formation can be switched on with little trouble, because the rest of
the developmental pathway is still intact. Even then, the teeth are
small and fairly non-functional.
In avian wing reduction, by contrast, we tend to see a more complex
reduction in several continuous characters (forelimb skeletal
characters, flight feather production, sternal complex robustness,
pectoralis mass, etc). Simple up-regulation changes are unlikely to
re-induce full flighted ability in neoflightless birds.
Still, we shouldn't consider it impossible, just complicated.
Michael Habib, M.S.
Center for Functional Anatomy and Evolution
Johns Hopkins School of Medicine
1830 E. Monument Street
Baltimore, MD 21205
(443) 280 0181