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Re: Confuciusornis feather length and flight mode



I fail to see how "elongate, thin and narrow wings" in any way invalidate a 
hypothesis of powered flight.  Other characters might reject a powered flapping 
model, but having long narrow wings certainly does not.  Very odd.  I suspect 
that some specific point has been lost in the trimming and editing on this one.

--Mike H.


On Mar 22, 2011, at 12:24 AM, Jason Brougham wrote:

> True, they do describe Confuciusornis's mosaic of flight adaptations as
> paradoxical. But here is the quote that gave me pause:
> 
> "However, very elongate, thin and narrow wings (Martin & Zhou, 1998;
> Chiappe et al., 1999; Peters & Ji, 1999; Zinoviev, 2009), narrow primary
> rachises (Nudds & Dyke, 2010) and anatomy indicating no flapping upstroke
> capability suggest that Confuciusornis was almost certainly a glider."
> 
> They thus cite their original thin rachis conclusions without the
> qualifications that they added in their response. The words "almost
> certainly" seem overstated.
> 
> But I am intrigued to consider that Confuciusornis may well have had
> unusual flight behaviors not seen in extant birds. That would make perfect
> sense.
> 
> I hope it will be possible for Nudds and Dyke to confirm or deny the
> rachis measurements of Zheng et al. at some point in the future.
> 
> 

Michael Habib
Assistant Professor of Biology
Chatham University
Woodland Road, Pittsburgh PA  15232
Buhl Hall, Room 226A
mhabib@chatham.edu
(443) 280-0181