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Archaeopteryx -- a re-evaluation suggesting an arboreal habitat and an intermediate stage in trees down origin of flight

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  • Marc Verhaegen
    DA Burnham 2007 Neues Jahrb.Geol.& Palaeont.Abh.245:33-44 Archaeopteryx - a re-evaluation suggesting an arboreal habitat and an intermediate stage in trees
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 1, 2007
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      DA Burnham 2007 Neues Jahrb.Geol.& Palaeont.Abh.245:33-44
      Archaeopteryx - a re-evaluation suggesting an arboreal habitat and an
      intermediate stage in trees down origin of flight

      The fossil-lagerstätte of the Upper Jurassic Solnhofen Formation contains
      the earliest known specimens of Archaeopteryx. The paleo-ecology that was
      indigenous for these archaeopterygian birds is not well known. The marine
      Solnhofen Formation also included other such terrestrial fliers as
      pterosaurs and insects. These volant (ie, able to fly) taxa along with
      continental plant material were likely blown over the marine waters by
      storms some distance from their natural habitat. These terrestrial organisms
      could only have originated from nearby landmasses with freshwater that
      supported an open forest of conifers and other gymnosperms. This habitat was
      ideal for the skeletal adaptations seen in Archaeopteryx in which its
      climbing ability far outweighed its putative cursorial attributes. Moreover,
      these archaeopterygian birds were constructed primitively compared to
      flapping flight mechanisms of Recent birds, further suggesting arboreal
      features in archaeopterygian birds were indicative of their lifestyle. With
      a primitive wing beat, Archaeopteryx represents an intermediate form between
      gliders and flapping fliers.
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