I remember as a child my father told me if I was able to put salt on a birds tail I could catch the bird.
Later that day, I could be seen stalking robins in the back yard with a large container of mortons salt as my father laughed from the kitchen window.
One night 35 years later after watching a show that debated the origin of bird flight, I was having a dream where I was standing at the edge of a large clearing. In the clearing I saw a group of feathered theropods.
They were all a dark blue in color and seemed to be at an evolutionary stage before flight. This thought suddenly propelled to chase after these creatures. I felt somehow that If I could catch one of these dinos I would be able to examine it and discover some truth about how they learned to fly.
As ran behind one at high speed, I could almost grab its long tail when suddenly there was a bright white flash a loud squawk ! it seemed for a moment that the theropod had exploded in a flash of light and disappeared right in front of me.
I stood there stunned and turned to see that the creature had merely change directions suddenly, as it did though it used its tail as a rudder much like a cheetah to change direction.
What had stunned me however was a much more ingenious adaptation. underneath the dark blue tail feathers were bright white feathers. This sudden flash of white combined with the loud squawk and sudden 90 degree turn would disrupt any predators neural network long enough for the theropod to make its getaway.
They all stopped and looked back at me seeming rather smug and untouchable like the robins in my back yard, then they all leapt into the air and began to fly in a strange serpentine patterns in the sky. I could see the white under the tails and also under their wings. Then I woke up.
This is how I interpreted the dream, the secret of bird flight is not in the wings, but in the tail, the running theropod used the tail as multi-purpose complex feature to avoid what ever was chasing it.
This body plan allowed the tail to function an symmetrical aerodynamic information gathering device.
Once the genetic linkage is established between cognition, nervous system, muscles, ligaments, feather shape. the system can be brought forward bilaterally to the arms to make them wings.
This also explains why birds display their tail feathers in mating rituals. This was the original seat of survival traits in bird morphology so when one ask why the peacocks tail is so bright it is because this is its ancestral source of genetic complexity and power. Wings emerged from this source of genetic complexity easily after the tail had honed these linkages over vast periods of time.
Flight feathers would developed first on the theropods tail enabling it to control pitch and yaw as a runner so it to could change direction sharply from right to left just as birds do today when flying.
The same way the jet uses its rear tail flaps to turn. Two distinct mechanism performing two distinct functions, the wings providing the lift the tail providing the steering, and the steering was perfected as a runner in the right left dimension of the ground, before the up down dimension of lift into the sky, and of coarse this was provided by the flight feathers of the tail before the flight feathers of the wings so the ability for flight originated though the complex adaptive tail before the wings !
The point is this, in the prominent theory of bird fight “ground up” no one has yet figured out why the theropod would develop the highly adapted flight feather on the wings before they actually started flying.
To develop fight feathers on the arms while running and catching things is to awkward. The theropod would need to run around with its arms stretched out trying to glide for millions of years and then run around for another million flapping them up and down before developing flight feathers.
Why would it do this? There is no advantage, no smooth development.
But, if the flight feathers and all the associated linkages were developed in the tail they could then easily be adopted by the feathers along a meridian over the rest of the body. What I mean by meridians is these lines that can transfer traits across the body plan I don’t know of the exact terminology or even if there is one. but nonetheless next time you see a chicken that has been plucked you can see a distinct symmetrical longitudinal lines or pathways on the body that runs from the tail to the wings.
These dream birds also seemed to contained some information in the strange dark blue color………. after some time it finally occurred to me, they were the same shade of blue as a container of mortons salt.