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Re: Microraptor -- "Biplane" or Not?



>has any consensus been reached on how Microraptor deployed its hind
>  wings= ? I know that it's=20 pretty much been established that the
>  hind limbs were held beneath the body= during flight=2C but =20 has
>  agreement been reached on whether the wing was held vertically or
>  horiz= ontally? I'm working on=20 some drawings for a teacher friend
>  of mine to show in class.
>  =20
>  Thanks=2C
>  Scott Selberg


That's a timely question.

There's a comment & reply just being published on that right now, in Proc. nat. 
Acad. Sci:

http://www.pnas.org/content/early/recent

Jason BroughamandStephen L. Brusatte
Distorted Microraptor specimen is not ideal for understanding the origin of 
avian flight  PNAS published ahead of print September 23, 2010,  
doi:10.1073/pnas.1004977107 



David E. Alexander, Enpu Gong,Larry D. Martin,David A. Burnham,and Amanda R. 
Falk
Reply to Brougham and Brusatte: Overall anatomy confirms posture and flight 
model offers insight into the evolution of bird                               
flight  PNAS published ahead of print September 23, 2010,  
doi:10.1073/pnas.1007798107 


----------------------------------
Denver Fowler
df9465@yahoo.co.uk
http://www.denverfowler.com
-----------------------------------



----- Original Message ----
From: David Marjanovic <david.marjanovic@gmx.at>
To: DML <dinosaur@usc.edu>
Sent: Mon, 27 September, 2010 15:24:01
Subject: Re: Microraptor -- "Biplane" or Not?

Rescued from truncation:

>  Has any consensus been reached on how Microraptor deployed its hind
>  wings= ? I know that it's=20 pretty much been established that the
>  hind limbs were held beneath the body= during flight=2C but =20 has
>  agreement been reached on whether the wing was held vertically or
>  horiz= ontally? I'm working on=20 some drawings for a teacher friend
>  of mine to show in class.
>  =20
>  Thanks=2C
>  Scott Selberg

I don't think there's consensus on how far, if at all, *M.* was able to spread 
its legs.

It's possible that the legs were more or less tucked in in flig
ird, with the foot feathers pointing sideways and (both 
feet together) forming a short extra wing (which was, of course, not flapped), 
sort of like the extra wing between the wheels of some double- and 
triple-deckers. The feathers on the rest of the legs would have had to point 
backwards.

There doesn't seem to be a way to find out which way the feathers on the feet 
pointed, let alone if they were mobile. The fossils are all squished flat, and 
things like tendons aren't preserved.