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RE: New Mesozoic bird papers (advance publication)

I have just been reading about the flying steamer duck in Darren Naish's
Tetrapod Zoology Book 1.  This duck uses keratanised knobs on the
capometacarpi to beat other birds to death.  The duck from hell!

-----Original Message-----
From: Ronald Orenstein [mailto:ron.orenstein@rogers.com] 
Sent: 17 December 2010 15:16
To: archosauromorph2@hotmail.com; dinosaur@usc.edu
Subject: Re: New Mesozoic bird papers (advance publication)

Without having seen the paper, I wonder if climbing and prey capture are the

only options.  How about aggression between individuals of the same species,

which is what some spur-winged birds use their wings for today?

 Ronald Orenstein
1825 Shady Creek Court
Mississauga, ON L5L 3W2

From: Brad McFeeters <archosauromorph2@hotmail.com>
To: dinosaur@usc.edu
Sent: Fri, December 17, 2010 12:10:03 AM
Subject: RE: New Mesozoic bird papers (advance publication)

> Date: Fri, 17 Dec 2010 15:51:09 +1100
> From: tijawi@gmail.com
> To: dinosaur@usc.edu
> Subject: Re: New Mesozoic bird papers (advance publication)
> Which brings me to this: "When birds developed an effective backstroke
> permitting easy ascent from flat surfaces, the need for manual claws
> disappeared, which would suggest that they were primarily used for
> climbing tree trunks and had little function in prey capture."
> I fail to see why manual claws couldn't be used for *both* climbing
> and prey capture - especially among the first birds. After all, if
> _Velociraptor_ had feathered forelimbs (based on the presence of quill
> knobs), and used its forelimbs in prey capture - why couldn't some
> early birds have done the same? Although I'm not suggesting that
> birds attacked large prey the way _Velociraptor_ did.

If the claws were used for something other than climbing, why were they lost
the same time birds developed the ability to ascend without climbing?  It's 
obviously not an airtight deduction, but still an interesting observation to

think about, especially if the correlated claw reduction + improved
evolved more than once in different bird clades (did it?  I haven't read the

paper yet either).