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>>This does not seem to fit the facts. Post-KT flightless birds include the
>>various ratites (which may or may not have evolved flightlessness
>>independently), penguins, dromornithids, diatrymids, phorusracids, mancallid
>>auks, plotopterygids (or whatever these things were called, I forget), and,
>>in recent times (though not all at present, alas) flightless cormorants (at
>>least two lines), ibises (at least two or three separate lines), ducks
>>(several lines), megapodes (as I recall), rails (lots of lines), the Great
>>Auk, aptornithids, kagus, parrots (the kakapo), a probably flightless hoopoe
>>from St. Helena, and even passerines (the hapless Stephen Island Rockwren of
>>New Zealand, exterminated by the lighthouse-keeper's cat). I see no
>>drop-off in the rate of appearance of flightless lineages.
>Probably the lousy fossil record fosters the illusion.
I had better add, quickly, that the list also includes two
independently-evolved flightless grebes (one, the Atitlan Grebe,
unfortunately now extinct). I am highly embarassed to have forgotten
these,as my graduate supervisor was Dr Robert Storer, the world's leading
authority on grebes! I hang my head in shame...
Ronald I. Orenstein Phone: (905) 820-7886 (home)
International Wildlife Coalition Fax/Modem: (905) 569-0116 (home)
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