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IVORY-BILLS  LiVE???!  ...

=> THE blog devoted to news and commentary on the most iconic bird in American ornithology, the Ivory-billed Woodpecker (IBWO)... and... sometimes other schtuff.

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Wednesday, November 11, 2009


-- Underwing Miscellany --


For what it's worth, nice views of the extended dorsal and ventral sides of both Ivory-bill and Pileated wings from actual museum specimens HERE. (hat tip to pinguinus blog for pointing me to these.)

Additionally, Fangsheath points to one of Cornell's pages for various underwing views here:


The problem with this preparation is that it gives a very misleading impression of the underwing pattern of a living ivory-bill with its wing extended. This should be obvious from a comparison with the famous Singer Tract photo. Since ivory-bill wings with strongly flexed elbow joints show a pattern roughly similar to this preparation, I assume it is due to shrinkage of the skin and fascia along the leading edge of the wing. The wrist joint skin ends up being very close to that of the shoulder, as is apparent from the fact that the inner secondaries and outer primaries converge to points absurdly close to one another. The pileated preparation does not seem to suffer from this problem.
Shortly after the Auk article appeared, Andrew Kratter (FMNH) posted in one of the discussion lists a comment to the fact that while the PIWO wing had been prepared from a freshly killed specimen the IBWO one had been from a specimen prepared in the usual way which then, much later (in the months before the article appeared) was soaked and had the bones removed in order to be stretched as much as possible and thus could not be expected to adequately represent the fully extended wing of a living IBWO.

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