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Re: Science feather strength debate

Augusto Haro <augustoharo@gmail.com> wrote:

> Of course EPB is not all there is in life, and you also
> have mechanics, but then one can doubt, as one doubts of the flight
> capabilities of Archaeopteryx, how good are the long stiff fingers of
> Archaeopteryx in grasping prey,

Long stiff fingers can't be that bad for grasping prey.
_Velociraptor_ and _Deinonychus_ have them too.  It probably means you have to
grasp prey with both hands.

> and, as you previously indicated in a
> former discussion with me, that the general anatomy of Archaeopteryx
> does not suggest it to be quite a climber (branch procuring for such a
> small animal should be related to climbing and to the deficient
> grasping capabiities of the hand).

:-)  Yes, I remember.   _Archaeopteryx_ was a crap runner, a crap
climber, and a crap flier (if it could fly at all).  So what right
does it have to exist at all?!!

> Yes, but as far as I know (and think you agree), these hypotheses are
> not favoured nowadays by most studies and thus cannot be used to
> dismiss the possibility of Archaeopteryx being a power flier.

No, but I agree with Jaime that we shouldn't be assuming that
_Archaeopteryx_ could fly.  Maybe the burden of proof should be on
arguing why it could fly, rather than why it couldn't....?

> And you are right in that
> feathers do not make a flyer, as can be also seen in many Recent birds.

The asymmetrical vanes of the remiges and rectrices of _Archaeopteryx_
suggest some kind of aerial capability.  But not necessarily powered
flight, because _Microraptor_ has them too.  However, some flightless
birds retain asymmetrical vanes (e.g., flightless grebes), although
most don't.