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Re: flights of fancy (or "I'm brave, but I'm chicken****")

>When there is no evidence either way, you opt for the explanation that makes
>more sense. 

Well, perhaps, providing you can show WHY it makes more sense.  Obviously
there are a number of reasonably knowledgeable people out there who do NOT
think it makes more sense.

And, of course, there is always the alternative of admitting our ignorance,
putting our various hypotheses aside until further data appears, and waiting...

 Pigs _could_ evolve wings
>sprouting out of their backs, but the fact that no known mammal has yet done
>so gives us a clue that it probably won't happen with pigs, either.

You are being facetious, of course, but neither of the alternatives we are
considering is even close to being as unlikely as this.

>Why didn't any other group of bipedal dinosaurs evolve arm-tucking, if it was
>so beneficial?

For the same reason that only one group of hoofed mammals evolved incredibly
long necks, only one evolved large, highly-functional elongate trunks etc
though both of these are clearly highly functional adaptations - because (a)
they just didn't or (b) there were functional advantages for maniraptors to
do so that did not exist for other dinos.  This is like saying that the
retractile claws of cats could not have evolved as hunting adaptations
because dogs don't have them.

>In _Goldfinger_ (Ian Fleming), the villain's motto is something like, "Once
>is happenstance, twice is coincidence, and three times is enemy action."  So
>if I see three or more different flight-specific adaptations present in a
>group of volant vertebrates, I assume they didn't just happen there by

This is circular reasoning.  WHY are they flight-specific adaptations?
"Because birds have them" isn't enough.

>>Except that it might well have developed adaptations to counter this
>>problem.  After all, an Ostrich is an extremely fast runner with
>>fairly-large, well-feathered wings and it seems to manage.
>Yeah--or it could simply lose the feathers, which according to BCF happened
>in most of the large-theropod lineages.

But for which you have, again, produced no evidence.  "It could have been"
that way - or not.
Ronald I. Orenstein                           Phone: (905) 820-7886 (home)
International Wildlife Coalition              Fax/Modem: (905) 569-0116 (home)
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