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Re: 11th specimen of Archaeopteryx

Jason Brougham <jaseb@amnh.org> wrote:

> Yeah, some members of the Kagu population could possibly have glided, perhaps 
> back when the New Caledonian forest composition
> was less disturbed, still had big araucarians forming a  canopy, and the 
> understory was more open. They could also have glided in
> certain topographies - meaning hillier areas - and Dr. Letocart may simply 
> have never observed it.

Yes, I wondered about this too (and this goes to GSP's point as well).
 With the current distribution of the kagu so highly restricted
compared to the past, it may be that its current behavior is likewise
highly constrained.  Not only is the total kagu population smaller and
more geographically limited, but New Caledonia has changed as well.

> But the crucial point here is that the Kagu (Rhynochetos jubatus) is capable 
> of weak powered flight without much climb in altitude.
> Thus they retain more of the capabilities of flighted birds than the 
> literature suggests.

As such, the kagu might serve as a poor analog for the evolution of
flight in birds. The muscles that work the wing are reduced, but it
retains full humeral excursion (something that was lacking from the
first birds and their ancestors).