Original Research

Form, function and fibres: a preliminary study of the Swartkrans fossil birds

V. Watson
Koedoe | Vol 34, No 1 | a410 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/koedoe.v34i1.410 | © 1991 V. Watson | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 22 September 1991 | Published: 23 September 1991

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Abstract

Fossil bird bones from the Swartkrans cave estimated at about one million years old have been identified to family level. Differences in humerus and sternum structure were noted. This led to an investigation into flight styles and behaviour as well as the muscle structure and function of the modern representatives of three families (Phasianidae - francolins; Columbidae - pigeons; Tytonidae - barn and grass owls) in an attempt to understand why the bones in these families were so distinctive.

Keywords

fossil bird bones, flight muscles, muscle histology, histochemistry.

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