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Re: 11th specimen of Archaeopteryx

Yes, I concur with Matt. All flying birds have some feathers on the humeral 
segment of the pectoral appendage, but it can be difficult to determine if long 
humeral feathers function as remiges or just as fluff.

Nitzsch was not highly informative. He illustrates the feather tracts but does 
not clearly distinguish between remiges and plumes.

Dr. Habib, did you write once that mathematical aerodynamic models show a 
reduction of performance if there is a gap between the secondaries and the body 

PS I did not mean to imply that I am starting a  project to compare humeral 
lengths, I merely suggested that it would be informative in this matter.

On Oct 28, 2011, at 8:38 AM, Matthew Martyniuk wrote:

> Are there any examples of non-soaring birds that incorporate the
> humeral remiges (=tertials, by the way) into the active plane of the
> wing? In many examples I've found these aren't really flight feathers
> but slightly more pennaceous and more like glorified shoulder/scapular
> feathers, basically acting as filler when the wing is slightly
> extended or serving as a protective cover for the active remiges when
> the wing is folded. Non-soaring birds don't seem to fully extend the
> humerus when in flight, making true remiges on the humerus
> unnecessary.
> Note the fourth image in the right column here: the tertials are the
> three innermost feathers of the wing and nearly completely overlap
> each other even when the wing is extended:
> http://homepage.smc.edu/sakai_walter/Species%20Accounts/cliff_swallow.htm
> IIRC, the description of the Thermopolis _Archaeopteryx_ noted faint
> traces of long "plumulaceous" feathers on the humerus that may be this
> type of tertial.
> Matt
>> On Thu, Oct 27, 2011 at 11:16 PM, Habib, Michael <MHabib@chatham.edu> wrote:
>>> Excellent; sounds like you're off to a roaring start and I (and others 
>>> here, I'm sure) will be very eager to see what you find!  One thought is 
>>> that it may be informative to standardize humeral length by another long 
>>> bone element, in parallel to the body mass standardization run.  I think 
>>> the results might be different in important ways.
>>> Cheers,
>>> --Mike H.
>>> On Oct 27, 2011, at 7:16 PM, Jason Brougham wrote:
>>>> Yes, sir, Mr. Hartman and I have corresponded about it previously.
>>>> It may be true that a lack of humeral remiges corresponds with 
>>>> proportionally short humeri, or it may not: that is a hypothesis that can 
>>>> be tested (I don't think it should be assumed a priori). I am finding 
>>>> humeral remiges absent in sample galliforms (quails) and corvids (jays) in 
>>>> my preliminary pterylographic search.
>>>> An experimental test would be simple: take birds with a humeral length to 
>>>> body mass ratio the same as the distribution in Archaeopteryx specimens of 
>>>> varying sizes, cut the humeral feathers, and see if  the modern birds can 
>>>> fly and/or what performance (if any) is lost.
>>>> The reason I am skeptical is that the putative "gap" between the body wall 
>>>> and secondaries that is often mentioned is less of a gap if we consider 
>>>> that the humerus diverges from the body wall at something near 45 degrees, 
>>>> and that there is a broad propatagium as well, even in forms as basal as 
>>>> Microraptor. The gap then is reduced to a small notch between the knee and 
>>>> elbow. I wish I could attach a small diagram here to demonstrate.
>>>> I'll consult my copy of Nitsch's Pterylography and report back.
>>>> On Oct 27, 2011, at 6:45 PM, Habib, Michael wrote:
>>>>> Yes, that is the presentation I alluded to. Thanks for posting the 
>>>>> abstract!  The modern birds with secondaries filling the inboard wing 
>>>>> typically have short humeri. Archaeopteryx also does not seem to have 
>>>>> angled secondaries.  Scott Hartman would be the better individual to 
>>>>> reply to that particular query, though.
>>>>> Cheers,
>>>>> --Mike H.
>>>>> Sent from my iPhone
>>>>> On Oct 27, 2011, at 5:52 PM, "Jason Brougham" <jaseb@amnh.org> wrote:
>>>>>> Dr. Habib, is this the presentation at SVP Bristol that you mentioned?
>>>>>> Also, the literature says that some modern birds do not have humeral 
>>>>>> remiges, using proximally directed secondaries to fill that role. Is it 
>>>>>> possible it was the same for Archaeopteryx?
>>>>>> Poster Session II, (Thursday)
>>>>>> WEISHAMPEL, David, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD, USA; HABIB, 
>>>>>> Michael,
>>>>>> Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD, USA
>>>>>> Birds inherited a bipedal gait and feathered airfoils from their 
>>>>>> theropod ancestry. These
>>>>>> features produce specific tradeoffs with regards to launch, maximum 
>>>>>> size, lift coefficient,
>>>>>> and limb disparity. There are subtle effects related to the use of 
>>>>>> feathered wings, such as
>>>>>> the ability to utilize separated wingtip slots and extensive span 
>>>>>> reduction, which have
>>>>>> also influenced avian flight evolution. Combining information from 
>>>>>> structural mechanics,
>>>>>> aerodynamics, and phylogeny, we conclude that the basal state for avian 
>>>>>> takeoff was a
>>>>>> leaping launch, not a running launch. We find that several morphological 
>>>>>> features of early
>>>>>> birds, inherited from theropod ancestry, predisposed them to radiation 
>>>>>> in inland habitats. We
>>>>>> find that Archaeopteryx could sustain substantial loads on both its 
>>>>>> forelimbs and hindlimbs,
>>>>>> but structural ratios between the forelimb and hindlimb of Archaeopteryx 
>>>>>> are indicative
>>>>>> of limited volancy. Limb strength in Confuciusornis was modest, 
>>>>>> suggesting an emphasis
>>>>>> on cruising flight and limited launch power. We find little evidence to 
>>>>>> support extensive
>>>>>> competition between birds and pterosaurs in the Mesozoic. Prior 
>>>>>> literature has suggested
>>>>>> that pterosaurs competed with early birds for resources and may have 
>>>>>> helped shape the early
>>>>>> evolution of birds. There is some evidence of partitioning between 
>>>>>> pterosaurs and birds in
>>>>>> ecological space. Evidence from the Jehol fauna suggests that pterosaurs 
>>>>>> dominated near
>>>>>> coastlines during the Early Cretaceous, while birds were more important 
>>>>>> inland. However,
>>>>>> flight is a complex character. Flight mechanics vary considerably across 
>>>>>> volant animals.
>>>>>> Some flyers experience only limited competition for resources with other 
>>>>>> flying species,
>>>>>> and might compete most intensely with non-flying taxa. As a baseline for 
>>>>>> understanding the
>>>>>> interactions between Cretaceous birds and pterosaurs, the flight 
>>>>>> dynamics of the two groups
>>>>>> need to be compared in a quantifiable framework. Birds and pterosaurs 
>>>>>> inherited different
>>>>>> morphologies, and this impacted their flight regimes. Comparing the two 
>>>>>> systems provides
>>>>>> a basis for hypotheses related to competition in the Cretaceous, and the 
>>>>>> influences on early
>>>>>> avian evolution.
>>>>>> On Oct 27, 2011, at 4:21 PM, Habib, Michael wrote:
>>>>>>> Also, the possible (likely) lack of a complete inner wing and the 
>>>>>>> relatively weak forelimbs (see Weishampel and Habib presentation at SVP 
>>>>>>> Bristol for the latter; full paper still pending as we are adding to 
>>>>>>> it).
>>>>>>> Cheers,
>>>>>>> --Mike H.
>>>>>>> Sent from my iPhone
>>>>>>> On Oct 27, 2011, at 3:55 PM, "David Černý" <david.cerny1@gmail.com> 
>>>>>>> wrote:
>>>>>>>> David Marjanović <david.marjanovic@gmx.at> wrote:
>>>>>>>>> What are these, other than the apparent inability to lift the wing 
>>>>>>>>> above
>>>>>>>>> horizontal?
>>>>>>>> The (admittedly controversial) feather study of Nudds & Dyke (2010), 
>>>>>>>> perhaps?
>>>>>>>> Nudds RL, Dyke GJ 2010 Narrow primary feather rachises in
>>>>>>>> _Confuciusornis_ and _Archaeopteryx_ suggest poor flight ability.
>>>>>>>> Science 328(5988): 887-9
>>>>>>>> --
>>>>>>>> David Černý
>>>>>> Jason Brougham
>>>>>> Senior Principal Preparator
>>>>>> American Museum of Natural History
>>>>>> jaseb@amnh.org
>>>>>> (212) 496 3544
>>>> Jason Brougham
>>>> Senior Principal Preparator
>>>> American Museum of Natural History
>>>> jaseb@amnh.org
>>>> (212) 496 3544
>>> Michael Habib
>>> Assistant Professor of Biology
>>> Chatham University
>>> Woodland Road, Pittsburgh PA  15232
>>> Buhl Hall, Room 226A
>>> mhabib@chatham.edu
>>> (443) 280-0181

Jason Brougham
Senior Principal Preparator
American Museum of Natural History
(212) 496 3544