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Re: Sinocalliopteryx (Theropoda: Compsognathidae) ate confuciusornithids and dromaeosaurids

I went on and on about this in a book I published back in 1988, and another 
n 2002, and a reply to a notoriously defective Science paper in 2010. To 
lide merely requires the ability to spread out an airfoil. Archeopteryx and 
inornithosaurs and all basal birds with large wings had way too many 
dditional flight adaptations to merely glide, they were powered fliers of 
ort or another using a basal system for flapping their arm wings. Quite 
ossibly not very well, but we might be surprised what they could do. 

Having seen the Archaeopteryx shoulder glenoids and those of many theropods 
and flying birds it is very unlikely that the basal fliers could elevate 
the humerus to vertical the way birds can (I sometimes show the arm vertically 
elevated in basal flier skeletals just to show the wing profile). Extremely 
unlikely they could take off vertically, but with a jumping-running start 
may have been able to take off from the ground. Or maybe not. 


n a message dated 9/1/12 12:12:15 PM, jaseb@amnh.org writes:
<< Man I so agree with you and Dr. Holtz. Right on.
That was one of my first thoughts, when I started my first Microraptor 
econstruction 8 years ago. I thought "well, flight in modern birds, with a 
ully derived pectoral anatomy, is superlative. Arctic terns fly from the 
ole to the south pole and back again every year. But what if powered 
tarted with a  much more primitive pectoral anatomy that could only achieve 
ursts of flight? Maybe it completely exhausted the animal just to flap 4 
eters over a stream or into a thicket, but that was enough." later I found 
ut that's how the modern Kagu flies.
In other words I would not assume that a modern pectoral architecture is a 
inimum for flight, but rather a  pinnacle of efficiency and performance. >>