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Re: Science feather strength debate

On 11/12/2010 7:50 PM, David Marjanovic wrote:
The ancestral form, which had rudimentary wings for brooding the
nest, and which could fold them tightly to prevent impediments to
running (as per Hopp and Orsen, in Feathered Dragons, 2004) could
have leapt up into trees to roost and/or forage when they were not

Such wings need not have been rudimentary at all. The bigger the wings,
the more eggs fit under them -- a straightforward Darwinian advantage.
This goes twice if the wings were exapted for sexual selection.

The initial and fortuitous proto-feather could have been "nurtured" to the point of initial aerodynamic effect while serving as insulation, display, camouflage, cooling, noise-making (subset of display) -- or, as you say, nesting/brooding (subset of insulation and maybe camo). Or permutations of all mentioned.

Regarding life in trees, how good a glider can *Archaeopteryx* have been
when it had that gap between wing and body, and don't chachalacas have a
fully reverted hallux while that of *Confuciusornis* points medially and
that of *Archaeopteryx* isn't rotated at all?

Oho! So now the poor thing cannot even glide?