Journal of Ornithology

, Volume 155, Issue 4, pp 1083–1085 | Cite as

Response to comments by C. Palmer on my paper, Feather structure, biomechanics and biomimetics: the incredible lightness of being

  • Theagarten Lingham-Soliar

In the latter part of a paper on feather structure and biomechanics, I (Lingham-Soliar 2014) critiqued a paper by Nudds and Dyke (2010) on the inadequacy of feather rachis strength for flapping flight in Archaeopteryx. Subsequently, I received a few emails from one of the authors, essentially alleging that I had misrepresented the findings of Weiss and Kirchner (2010) with respect to the significance of the foam centre of the rachis. A written response by Palmer (2014) expressing similar views followed, to which I reply here (for references not listed see Lingham-Soliar 2014).

Palmer says that the classical Brazier buckling formula for thin-walled circular tubes is a reasonable approximation for the calamus region of the rachis. However, most college textbooks on feather morphology plainly show that the calamus and the rachis are quite distinct structural components of the primary feather shaft. Thus, while the concept of the thin-walled, circular engineering tube may be a reasonable...


Feather microstructure Cortex Medullary foam Biomechanics Engineering 


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Copyright information

© Dt. Ornithologen-Gesellschaft e.V. 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Environmental SciencesNelson Mandela Metropolitan UniversityPort ElizabethSouth Africa

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