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>Not as important as escaping predators, because the animals cannot know in
>advance that food will be found in new regimes. And I think flight evolved
>first in insectivorous forms, not carnivorous forms, even in the case of
>avian dinosaurs. I might just buy the evolution of avian flight as enhancing
>the pursuit of flying insects--although many insects are caught while resting
>rather than flying--but what other sources of food could be reached by flying
>that couldn't be reached by other, less energetically costly means?

In known basal birds, the tooth form is conical to subconical with a basal
constriction.  There is no strong evidence that such teeth are associated
with insectivory (although they certainly could have been used), but are
more like the teeth of small nonavian theropods and some crocs.  I think
that small vertebrates may have been at least as important as insects in the
diet of the Mesozoic birds.

Thomas R. Holtz, Jr.
Vertebrate Paleontologist
Dept. of Geology
University of Maryland
College Park, MD  20742
Email:Thomas_R_HOLTZ@umail.umd.edu (th81)
Fax: 301-314-9661