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Flight SPECULATION



     I think the discussions over birds origins on this list are 
interesting, but quickly loosing sight of the fact that the subject is 
completely speculative.  No one knows why (or where) birds, pterosaurs, 
and bats evolved flight, and they may very well have  done it for 
totally different reasons in totally different environments and 
ecological conditiuons.  G.O.s arboreal origins idea has a degree of 
plausibility, but I'll bet you could construct an argument, or a 
thousands arguments of equal plausibility for a cursorial origin of 
flight, or an arboreal origin for different reasons.  Any number of 
ecological conditions might cause a cursorial or 
arboreal animal to take to the air.  The dozens of complicated and 
imaginiative ideas we've been tossing around shows just how little is 
known about how the process might get started.  The unambiguous evidence just
isn't there.  The simple fact that no good protobirds previous to 
Archaeopteryx are known renders the entire bird origins debate to complete 
speculation.  Tossing around ideas are fun, but we shouldn't loose sight of 
the fact that the unknowns are too numerous to take this debate very seriously. 
 

LN Jeff