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Re: Velociraptor scavenged azhdarchid pterosaur

On Mar 6, 2012, at 6:01 PM, David Marjanovic wrote:

>> Further, if the purpose of the
>> feathers was not aerodynamic, then it wouldn't matter if they were
>> damaged, or even yanked out completely by struggling prey.
> And if their function _was_ aerodynamic, it still wouldn't matter much. 
> Moulting doesn't confine birds to the ground, except those birds that moult 
> all wing feathers at once. Highly specialised fliers like swifts only moult a 
> pair of wing feathers at once, one on each wing, but that's evidently 
> tolerable.
> Pretty much any aerodynamic function that *Velociraptor* could have used 
> would have been more error-tolerant than any kind of flight.

Fun anecdote to make the point: even with the primaries clipped, large birds 
can manage to clear fences with a good gust.  When I worked at the Baltimore 
Zoo, a Kori Bustard cleared a 6 foot fence during a gusty rainstorm, despite 
having his primaries clipped on both sides (note: we're talking about a darn 
big bird here, too - I think he was 12 or 13 kg). This is why most zoos now 
clip only one wing (the asymmetry produces roll, which makes it more difficult 
to clear obstacles).


--Mike Habib

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