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Re: FYI -- Microraptor gui, Burnham and Alexander, PNAS...
"[...] _M. gui_'s feathered hindwings, although effective for
gliding, would have seriously hampered terrestrial locomotion."
Well, rearticulating the disarticulated femora wouldn't be easy...
"New anatomical information based on the discovery of several hundred
specimens similar to the four-winged glider _M. gui_ (and related
taxa) has produced converging lines of evidence demonstrating that
the original describers of _M. gui_ (5) were correct in their
interpretation of the flight posture."
I really hope the authors are not arguing that posture-in-death
reflects posture-in-life. Strange things happen to ligaments after a
creature dies. Besides, once a creature has shed its mortal coils it
no longer feels excruciating pain when muscles are stretched or
twisted beyond their limits in life.
Remember the photos of *M. zhaoianus* in Hwang et al. (2002)?
Spread-eagle pose, and yet the femora are articulated with the ilia --
it's just that the ilia are cracked: the dorsal part is vertical, and
the ventral part, together with the entire legs, is horizontal.
I do hope the paper contains good photos of some of these "several
How adept can you be in the trees, when movement at the wrist and
ankle joints are each confined to a single plane (arboreal mammals
tend to have highly flexible wrists and ankles), and neither the hand
nor pes was capable of prehension?
I wonder if they even thought that far. Humans have a disturbing
tendency to assume that everyone shares their extraordinary forelimb