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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
(443) 280-0181