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>Given that irregular land surfaces can be found everywhere, if the evolutio=
>of flight were this easy from cursorial forms, there would certainly be mor=
>kinds of flying vertebrates than just three (one extinct).

Perhaps, but what if flight evolved in bipedal animals only (bats being a=
 possible point against this)?  Also, the animal would have to be of a=
 reasonable size (say, _Compsognathus_ sized or smaller).  This would mean=
 that very few animals would ever have the criteria for powered flight.

>Also, what would
>cause the pursuing theropod to abandon a tried and true method of capturing
>prey (by following it the long way across gullies) for gliding?

A short cut.  It also might help the small theropod to get a few precious=
 feet ahead of a much larger theropod that had dinner plans (combining both=
 the predator-avoidance and prey-catching hypotheses).

>That is, what
>would compel the animal to take to the air in the first place? And finally,
>there is nothing here about the evolution of powered flight, just gliding.

All flight probably evolved gliding first anyway.  My possibility simply=
 gets the animal of the ground.  Once the animal is in the air, evolution=
 will select forms that will lead to powered flight.


"Don't panic!"