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Re: 11th specimen of Archaeopteryx

Tim's point regarding birds nesting in abrasive plants is well taken, as is 
Don's comments on Cycads etc.  However, I still find myself asking the 
question: is there any reason we keep trying to put Archaeopteryx (and close 
relatives) into elevated positions to begin with?  Don already pointed out 
that, at best, we simply cannot exclude some arboreal roosting, etc for 
Archaeopteryx.  We have no evidence that Archie was absolutely confined to 
terrestrial life, but we have nothing to suggest it was arboreal in any 
meaningful way, either.  As a result, I find myself a bit mystified by the 
continued attempts at building scenarios in which Archaeopteryx spent time 
climbing about.  Yes, perhaps it did.  But one can imagine that many 
maniraptorans could get into trees, given the right tree.  Deinonychus could 
probably get into a tree, but I'm not sure the possibility merits much 
discussion.  It's a level of behavioral specificity we cannot determine in 
fossil animals, as best I can tell. 



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

On Oct 24, 2011, at 12:11 PM, tim koenig wrote:

> Hard to imagine a plant too nasty for some bird to nest in. How about
> Cactus Wrens in Cholla cactus clumps, or, in my area, Magpies in
> Washington Hawthorne trees. The latter builds a full sphere with the
> Hawthorne twigs, and I don't know of a nastier tree to work around.
> Those nests are certainly safe from ME.
> On Sun, Oct 23, 2011 at 4:32 PM, Don Ohmes <d_ohmes@yahoo.com> wrote:
>> On 10/23/2011 5:59 PM, David Marjanovic wrote:
>>> Clearly intended for the list -- and look, forwarding generates a
>>> presentable header:
>>> ===================================
>>> -------- Original-Nachricht --------
>>> Betreff: Re: 11th specimen of Archaeopteryx
>>> Datum: Sun, 23 Oct 2011 11:52:15 -0500
>>> Von: Clair Ossian <clastic@verizon.net>
>>> An: <david.marjanovic@gmx.at>
>>> Hmmm...I suggest you try to sit in or build a nest in a cycad.
>> Never been a nester -- I have worked on and in Sago Palms as a 100 kg adult,
>> though.
>> Also cabbage palm, and several others -- these may not be technically
>> cycads, but the principle is the same, in functional terms. Never noticed
>> any unusual bleeding...
>>> I grow a number of species and have seen and handled many other species.
>>> Cycads commonly have inflexible fronds and leaflets that are generally
>>> sharp, jagged, and very easily inflict bloody wounds on mammals (me) when
>>> the plants are handled.
>>> I have been savagely ripped up on a number of occasions when moving or
>>> repotting one :)
>>> I suspect that cycads did not make favored nest sites.
>> Interesting idea -- a plant clade so fearsome that no vertebrates will
>> inhabit it.
>> I would argue they would make nice safe places to spend the night for a
>> creature of Arch. size, for just the reasons you mention -- I don't remember
>> mentioning nesting. Ground-foraging tree-roosters don't necessarily nest in
>> trees, anyway -- American Wild Turkeys certainly do not, and bears regularly
>> sleep in trees, as example :D...
>> I am not claiming that Arch. was a ground-forager that slept in trees,
>> ordinary or otherwise -- it is just that 1) the lack of perching pes does
>> not exclude them from that lifestyle, and 2) their bodies as seen in the
>> record would be suitable for it, given the right vegetative forms.
>> Both points always seem to get lost in these discussions.