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Re: 11th specimen of Archaeopteryx

On 10/23/2011 1:55 AM, Tim Williams wrote:

Examination of the pes shows that the hallux was fairly short and not
reversed, contradicting what one would expect in a perching bird.

Examination of the entire skeleton shows beyond doubt that
_Archaeopteryx_  was not specialized for an arboreal lifestyle.

It is worth mentioning that cycads and plants with similar morphology can be easily utilized as perches, roosts, havens and restaurants by animals whose lifestyle could be characterized functionally by the term 'turkey w/ teeth' -- I am not saying that Arch. definitely was a 'toothed turkey' in it's lifestyle, but it certainly seems plausible.

Cycads often have slanting/curved trunks -- particularly when massed together -- and a rough, often stepwise exterior that is easily negotiated by small animals w/ claws. The usual rosette at the top is a form that even a medium size dog or boy can "perch" in -- not in comfort perhaps, but w/out risk of falling.

In fact, getting out of a cycad might be harder than getting up one -- hence the advantage of parachuting abilities.

Heh. Some personal observations, there...

IMHO, the fossil evidence points to a "long-fuse" development of the
modern avian flight apparatus.  Over a long period of time, and within
multiple lineages, paravians were engaged in aerial behavior that did
not qualify as true powered flight.