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RE: Campbell's even crazier than a MANIAC? (archeopteryx climbing)



Scott Selberg wrote:


> It has been postulated that the hind wings of Microraptor were carried below 
> the animal and were used to> help it steer or take tighter turns, and that 
> it's sickle claw was used to help it climb trees.IF it turns out 
> that Archie's environment was in fact low lying bushes as opposed to the 
> dense forrest environment 
> postulated for Microraptor, it would have reduced hind wings and a reduced 
> sickle claw since instead of 
> steering around trees or landing on tree trunks it could burst ten or twelve 
> feet into the air and land on 
> top of a bush, thus reducing the need for tight steering or a heavy duty 
> crampon.


One potential problem with this scenario is that the foot of _Archaeopteryx_ is 
not very well adapted to perching.  The hallux is not reversed, and it is still 
quite short and high on the foot compared to later birds.  This would make it 
very difficult for _Archaeopteryx_ to land on top of a bush.  Difficult, but 
not impossible - but unusual if these kind of landings were habitual.  


Also, a bush would be more difficult to land on (and launch from) than a large 
tree because the thin branches would be harder to grasp than a thick and sturdy 
bough.  Especially if the foot is not specialized for perching (as is the case 
for _Archaeopteryx).


Cheers

Tim
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