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From Fins to Wings
NOVEMBER 2006
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Photo caption by Jennifer Holland
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From Fins to Wings Gallery Photo

In Good Form
Photograph by Rosamond Purcell

A lyrebird, with the showy plumage it uses to attract mates, hardly looks reptilian. But the recipe for its elaborate feathers starts with the same genes that make scales. Both scales and feathers sprout from disks of cells in the embryo called placodes. Back in the days of the dinosaurs, small changes in the genes that control this process resulted in simple, tube-like feathers. Evolution has continued to tweak feather design, building some for flight, some for warmth, and some for looks.



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Photo Fast Facts
Camera: Nikon D50
Format: Digital
Lens: 18mm-70mm
Speed and F-Stop: 1/20 @ f/6.3
Weather Conditions: Indoors
Time of Day: Unrecorded
Lighting Techniques: Natural light
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