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Re: Microraptor Had Iridescent Plumage



On Mar 9, 2012, at 11:28 AM, "Ben Creisler" <bcreisler@gmail.com> wrote:

> From:  Ben Creisler
> bcreisler@gmail.com
> 
> The long metatarsal feathers on Microraptor are clearly asymmetrical
> and so must have had an aerodynamic function with no analog in modern
> birds.

Well, it doesn't mean they *must* have been under lifting loads, but the 
probably were.  That said, no weird twisting, splaying, sprawling or other 
oddness is required to get reasonable use out of them.

> The alula functions to prevent stalls in landing when the wings
> in modern birds are at a high angle of attack.

Actually, that's never been shown. We know when the alula is deployed, and it 
suggests vortex generation during near stall as a function, but the slat 
concept doesn't jive and there are other options, too.

Cheers,

--Mike Habib


> Microraptor likely
> glided and landed differently from any modern birds as suggested by
> studies and illustrations. If it often landed belly-forward on
> vertical tree-trunks more like a flying squirrel as the artwork
> suggests rather than belly-downward on branches or the ground as
> modern birds do, an alula may not have worked. Clearly a better
> understanding of the function of the metatarsal feathers is needed.
> 
> The artwork also shows Microraptors perched on branches. I'm wondering
> if a Microraptor could actually land on a branch like a modern bird.