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Archaeopteryx wing feathers

From: Ben Creisler

New in PLoS ONE:

Robert L. Nudds (2014)
Reassessment of the Wing Feathers of Archaeopteryx lithographica
Suggests No Robust Evidence for the Presence of Elongated Dorsal Wing
PLoS ONE 9(4): e93963.

Recently it was proposed that the primary feathers of Archaeopteryx
lithographica (HMN1880) were overlaid by long covert feathers, and
that a multilayered feathered wing was a feature of early fossils with
feathered forelimbs. The proposed long covert feathers of
Archaeopteryx were previously interpreted as dorsally displaced
remiges or a second set of impressions made by the wing. The following
study shows that the qualitative arguments forwarded in support of the
elongated covert hypothesis are neither robust nor supported
quantitatively. The idea that the extant bird wing with its single
layer of overlapping primaries evolved from an earlier multilayered
heavily coveted feathered forelimb as seen in Anchiornis huxleyi is
reasonable. At this juncture, however, it is premature to conclude
unequivocally that the wing of Archaeopteryx consisted of primary
feathers overlaid with elongated coverts.