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Re: Yet more on dinosaur quad climbers



On Jul 14, 2013, at 9:30 AM, Jason Brougham <jaseb@amnh.org> wrote:

> Mike, Do you think that the feathers of Anchiornis, as described in Longrich 
> et al. (2012), may be good candidates for an 'almost' flight feather, or more 
> likely to be a degenerate flight feather?
> 
> The authors here suggested that the remiges may have been less stiff 
> individually, but there were more layers in the wing producing, in essence, a 
> thatched airfoil.

That's a good question.  I'm not sure we know how to tell the difference 
between an incipient flight feather and a secondarily reduced one, yet.

The stiffening by layering of the feathers is an interesting concept. It may 
also be important in considering the flight worthiness of the feathers in 
animals like Archaeopteryx, which have functionally symmetric primaries and 
would therefore have a feather twisting problem without reinforcement (note: 
functional asymmetry is not the same as simple measured asymmetry).

Cheers,

--Mike


Michael Habib
Assistant Professor of Cell and Neurobiology
Keck School of Medicine of USC
University of Southern California
Bishop Research Building; Room 403
1333 San Pablo Street, Los Angeles 90089-9112
biologyinmotion@gmail.com
(443) 280-0181