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Re: 11th specimen of Archaeopteryx



On 10/23/2011 11:55 AM, David Marjanovic wrote:

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.

Just to make absolutely sure nobody overextends this analogy -- turkeys
have long, reverted first toes, Archie didn't; turkeys roost in ordinary
trees (as opposed to cycads), Archie is not likely to have done so, no
matter how much time it may have spent in cycads.

I am not sure what you mean by "over-extension", or why you wish to avoid it, but this point stands -- a tree-roosting, ground-foraging animal does not *require* a "long, reverted first toe", especially when parachuting down is an option -- as to perching, Wood Ducks (Aix sponsa) have webbed feet, and both nest and intermittently roost in trees, seemingly coping well, even challenging woodpeckers for nest sites.

There is functionally a great deal more to the 'turkey lifestyle' than simply what type of tree they roost in, or even the specific tools they use to stay in them -- they spend their days on the ground foraging for food, nesting, squabbling and mating. They are not shy about about running down and eating various insects, and if they had teeth, they might expand expand the menu to include small animals.

That said, more general terminology is OK by me, and I will abandon the 'toothed-turkey' term in favor of the more general 'tree-roosting, ground foraging predator' -- I may insist on an acronym at some point, though. :D

It is a lifestyle that is under-appreciated relative to flight evolution in small theropods, in my view -- trees are generally easier to climb than to get down from, and a parachuting capability is advantageous.

The potential to evolve wings and an Archaeopteryx-style body is obvious.