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Re: The ground-nowhere hypothesis on the origin of bird flight



A little speculation about the elongation of the forelimbs in
paravians and the development of remiges:

If relatively small hyperextended claws are primitive for paravians,
they may suggest some seriema-like predation in early paravians, which
use this claw to hit small prey. In snake-killing birds, extending
long feathered wings permit to fool venomous snakes by getting them
trying to bite feathers. Feathers on the hind legs will have also
added to the posibility the snake does not aim to the non-feathery
part of the limb. Perhaps feathered extremities like those may imply
an advantage against venomous prey in animals which could not perform
flapping flight (if they really performed it). Of course, for this to
represent a selective advantage, we should hypothesize the venomous
stuff was some common food source.

It only rests to know how many snakes, or some other venomous small
vertebrate prey (mammals with venomous spikes on ankles? varanoids?),
were there in the Late Jurassic/Early Cretaceous.

Don't get angry... :-)