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Re: Propatagium reveals flying ancestry of oviraptorosaurs (new Feduccia & Czerkas paper)
Mickey Mortimer <email@example.com> wrote:
> The context of the abstract makes it pretty clear the authors mean aerial
> habits instead of powered flight,
> since they contrast it with terrestriality.
The entire paper (including the title) make it clear that they regard
_Caudipteryx_ as secondarily flightless ('neoflightless'). The
authors differentiate 'gliding', 'volant' and 'neoflightless'.
The authors also compare non-volant oviraptorosaurs favorably to
ratites, and regard oviraptorosaurs as terrestrial, secondarily
flightless birds. There's not a lot of nuance in what they mean by
"volant" - they mean powered flight. ("The presence of numerous
flight features reveal that Caudipteryx, like the extant flightless
ratites, originated from volant ancestors..." and so on, throughout
> Also, would you really say there's been a consensus oviraptorosaurs were
> secondarily terrestrial?
No, I wouldn't. Personally, I don't believe it. I think all
theropods stemward of Pygostylia were *primitively* terrestrial, with
little (if any) arboreal abilities.
> I know Paul's believed it, as have I since 1998, but I'd say there are plenty
> of paleontologists who have
> proposed Caudipteryx's wings evolved in a terrestrial setting, for display,
> brooding, running up inclines,
Broadly, I'd go along with that. _Caudipteryx_ is perhaps not a good
example of non-flight aerial behaviors, because its forelimbs were so
short (probably, although not certainly, secondarily reduced). But I
subscribe to the hypothesis that flight evolved in theropods that were
terrestrial ("ground-dwelling"), as opposed to arboreal (spending most
or all of their time in trees).
I should add that I'm skeptical of the reported preservation of a
propatagium in _Caudipteryx_... but that's another issue.