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Re: [dinosaur] Energetic cost of foraging flight in parrots
On Thu, May 18th, 2017 at 3:16 PM, Tim Williams <email@example.com> wrote:
> The major fault I find with this particular model is that it assumes
> an arboreal setting. If _Archaeopteryx_ and _Microraptor_ were indeed
> leaping between branches, one might expect them to have feet
> specialized for perching. They don't. The hallux is only modestly
> descended on the metatarsus, and it's certainly not reversed. So it's
> difficult to envisage how an arboreal foraging protobird would land.
> Take-off is fine. But without a foot that is adapted for grasping
> branches, the landing would be highly problematic.
One thing I notice about the species of bird used in the study is that they have
unusually short tail feathers, which would seem to be an adaptation to leaping
about in closely-spaced branches. Most early theropod flutterers appear to have
had long bony tails that would have made navigating such a cluttered environment
quite difficult, especially if the feathered tail 'frond' lacked the mobility
bird tail feathers and couldn't be spread or retracted at will.