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RE: Sinocalliopteryx (Theropoda: Compsognathidae) ate confuciusornithids and dromaeosaurids
Man I so agree with you and Dr. Holtz. Right on.
That was one of my first thoughts, when I started my first Microraptor
reconstruction 8 years ago. I thought "well, flight in modern birds, with a
fully derived pectoral anatomy, is superlative. Arctic terns fly from the north
pole to the south pole and back again every year. But what if powered started
with a much more primitive pectoral anatomy that could only achieve short
bursts of flight? Maybe it completely exhausted the animal just to flap 4
meters over a stream or into a thicket, but that was enough." later I found out
that's how the modern Kagu flies.
In other words I would not assume that a modern pectoral architecture is a
minimum for flight, but rather a pinnacle of efficiency and performance.
From: owner-DINOSAUR@usc.edu [owner-DINOSAUR@usc.edu] on behalf of David
Sent: Saturday, September 01, 2012 8:48 AM
Subject: Re: Sinocalliopteryx (Theropoda: Compsognathidae) ate
confuciusornithids and dromaeosaurids
> On top of all this, I think there is an unconscious assumption in a
> lot of discussions that the flight states are "stuck on the ground
> like a turtle" vs. "as aerial as a sparrow or starling". But consider
> that many modern birds do perfectly well with what from a sparrow's
> point of view are extremely limited modes of flight: birds like
> galliforms, for instance.
I agree! Galliforms are bad examples, though: they are very _powerful_
fliers. Basically all they do is lift off from the ground, lifting their
wings way above shoulder height (famous criticism of WAIR).
Sparrows are interesting in another way: they practice undulating
flight. They fly with so much power that they don't need to sustain the
effort. So, every other second, they just fold their wings and engage in
free fall. Only passeriforms and piciforms (their sister-group) seem to
do that, though.