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RE: Flight capablities of Archie & Confucius? Not so good...

David Marjanovic wrote:

<Didn't they publish the same thing (for Archie only, of course) in Nature in 
1994? Somehow, nobody seems to have noticed it back then.>

  Enough to notice it, pass it over, and go one with their tact? An interesting 
example, perhaps, of using "poor flying ability" as meaning "can fly, but not 
as good as wrens." There's a level of relativity here that hasn't been 
measured, and as long as the performance output of one is simply less than the 
other, one can still hypothesize that the "poor" ability can enable the 
behavior one has espoused already. Despite this, Paul's _Dinosaurs of the Air_ 
doesn't even cite Nudds and Dyke (1994).

  One thing that can be said of the paper is that it does better to supplement 
the analysis with further data, so now they can both be cited and used to argue 
further for lack of powered flying capability, if even passive flying 
capability (i.e., "powered" gliding). One thing that cannot be said of it is 
that it won't tell paleoartists to NOT draw Archie as a fully powered flier 
(much less *Confuciusornis*. It is  too sexy of an idea to give up. They have 
wings, therefore they must have flown; bird have wings, and birds can fly; not 
only do wings = flight, and birds = wings, but wings = flight just like birds.

Nudds, R. L. & Dyke, G. J. 1994. Flight capabilities of *Archaeoptery*. 
_Nature_ 370:514.
Nudds, R. L. & Dyke, G. J. 2010. Narrow primary feather rachises in 
*Confuciusornis* and *Archaeopteryx* suggest poor flight ability. _Science_ 


Jaime A. Headden
The Bite Stuff (site v2)

"Innocent, unbiased observation is a myth." --- P.B. Medawar (1969)

"Ever since man first left his cave and met a stranger with a
different language and a new way of looking at things, the human race
has had a dream: to kill him, so we don't have to learn his language or
his new way of looking at things." --- Zapp Brannigan (Beast With a Billion 

> Date: Fri, 14 May 2010 11:54:44 +0200
> From: david.marjanovic@gmx.at
> To: dinosaur@usc.edu
> Subject: Re: Flight capablities of Archie & Confucius? Not so good...
>> Nudds, R.L. & G.J. Dyke. 2010. Narrow Primary Feather Rachises in
>> Confuciusornis and Archaeopteryx Suggest Poor Flight Ability. Science
>> 328:887-889. [DOI: 10.1126/science.1188895]
>>> Alternatively, if they were only gliders, then the flapping wing
>>> stroke must have appeared after the divergence of Confuciusornis,
>>> likely within the enantiornithine or ornithurine radiations.
> But...
> *Confuciusornis* as a glider is sort of imaginable. There were plenty of
> trees in that habitat, *C.* had nicely grasping hands and medially
> directed first toes, and it had long, narrow wings, so maybe it really
> did climb trees and glide down.
> Archie? Apparently no trees higher than 3 m, unspectacular hands for a
> theropod, elevated first toes directed forward, and a gap between the
> rather rounded wing and the body.
> BTW, does the limited shoulder mobility make WAIR impossible?
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