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Re: Way cool kagu

Yes they are also held at some zoos in the Northern Hemisphere. Studies of
their biomechanics, getting them to jump off of force plates, etc., could
be done in the lab.

Jason Brougham
Senior Principal Preparator
American Museum of Natural History
(212) 496 3544

On 7/19/13 1:22 PM, "Ronald Orenstein" <ron.orenstein@rogers.com> wrote:

>According to the account in Handbook of the Birds of the World v. 3
>"Birds use the wings to assist their movement, when they are forced to
>flee from danger, over steep descents, or when they are climbing in
>difficult terrain. At these times, the birds often flap their wings, but
>they can also glide during airborne descents."  As Greg notes the wings
>are also used in display.
>The account also notes that Kagus frequently roost above ground: "Kagus
>perch above the ground mainly on live and dead branches or tree trunks,
>but they sometimes use vines, raised roots or isolated rocks. Purchase
>average about 30 cm in diameter; they are usually in climbable positions
>about 1.5 m above the ground, but they may be up to about 4 m. high."
>There is an old paper on Kagu anatomy but I cannot access the full text:
>Beddard, F. (1891).  Contributions to the Anatomy of the Kagu
>(Rhinochetus jubatus). Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London
>Volume 59, Issue 1, pages 9­21.
>I have been to New Caledonia (in 1970; a very neat place indeed) but the
>only Kagus I saw were, alas, in captivity.
>Ronald Orenstein
>1825 Shady Creek Court
>Mississauga, ON L5L 3W2
>From: "GSP1954@aol.com" <GSP1954@aol.com>
>To: dinosaur@usc.edu
>Sent: Friday, July 19, 2013 12:52:53 PM
>Subject: Way cool kagu
>Until it was mentioned recently on the list I did not even know about the
>kagu (so did not discuss in DA). Since it is the only living nearly
>flightless bird with big wings it is very important, and I wanted to see
>skeleton. Was afraid would have to go all the way down to the Smithsonian
>arrange to get into birds and so on and so forth. But right there on
>Google is an 
>old figure of the skeleton via Parker 1868 bless em, the paper is on the
>(it starts with rather a bit of a tiff with Professor Huxley over the
>proper identity of the great maxilla before it gets down to describing
>the kagu - 
>ah those were the days:-). Also on Google is an excellent photo of
>isplay, showing the entire left ventral surface
>flat on to the camera. So did a skeletal restoration with the wing
>(was able to get the correct wing size on the skeleton by using the
>lengthes of 
>the arm, head and metatarsus which all produced similar results).
>The kagu is a set of really long legs anchored on a very big pelvis
>attached to a remarkably short,  deep body, and a very large head with
>big eyes.  
>The area of the wing is typical for a flying bird at its mass and similar
>to Archaeopteryx and Microraptor. Yet there are remarkably few primary
>are asymmetrical) and inner feathers, just 16 along the whole span of the
>wing. The sternum lacks a keel and is very narrow. Sternal ribs look
>uncinates rather small. Really notable is that the furcula is very thin,
>the coracoid is quite narrow. Scapula blade rather reduced. The humerus
>shaft is slender, especially at mid shaft, being much weaker than the
>femur. The 
>pectoral crest is hardly there. The very thin furcula and teeny pectoral
>crest suggest extreme reduction of flight muscles. The leg muscles onthe
>oversized pelvis and long long limbs must be a far larger percent of
>total mass. 
>Toe claws are flat of course, short, tips seem to be worn a bit. Kagus
>adapted for running and not flying. They show what a full winged but
>flightless ground dwelling theropod looks like.
>Archaeopteryx does not have an ossified sternum. But the furcula is much
>more robust, the pectoral crest is many, many times larger, and the
>is broader. The humerus is more robust than the femur. The pelvis is
>and the legs are not all that long, toes claws are large, shapr and more
>curved. The arm muscles should have been stronger than those of the legs,
>indicating that the arms were the main locomotary organs via some level
>of powered 
>flight (probably better than kagu) and quad climbing. This is what a
>scansorial winged theropod looks like.
>Microraptor also has very large pectoral crest, stout furcula and
>agu, and a flattened
>central finger to support the outer primaries not present in
>The legs are very long, but that is because they too are supporting big
>wings. Pelvis is rather small. Toe claws big, strongly arced and very
>sharp. Must 
>have been a better powered flier and climber than Archaeopteryx. This is
>what a highly arboreal winger theropod looks like.
>What we really need is a lot more data on the kagu. So one of you get a
>grant to go to New Caledonia (very nice place, McCale and his PT 73 crew
>on leave there, is big tourist beach destination for the French). Find
>exactly what their flight abilities are and are not. Really badly needed
>the weight of the combined flight muscles as a percent of body mass (also
>leg muscles). So kill a kagu or two - never mind that they are endangered
>it is very illegal - and get that data. How's that for a project?
>Of course we will probably never know the exact size and nature of kagu
>flight muscles. Sigh.