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Re: Exaptation

On Thu, 7 Dec 1995, Ronald Orenstein wrote:

> >     Nothing on pterosaurs. But New Zealand had a species of small, 
> >flightless bat.
> Please - I am agog to hear about this one.  What did it look like?  Was it
> related in any way to the living Short-tailed Bat, which I gather spends a
> lot of time on the ground but can fly?
        I don't remember much about it- it was small, mouse-sized, and 
rolled up its wings to scamper along on all fours. It was incapable of 
flight, and substantially better at walking than modern bats- possibly 
more upright legs, less membrane between the legs, stuff like that.
        There is a modern New Zealand bat, which likes to spend a lot of 
time running around on the ground. It hunts insects, I think. It can 
still fly. This might be the short-tailed bat you mentioned. 
        There are probably a couple of reasons bats don't go flightless 
very often. I don't know if they are quite as good as birds at flying, so 
they probably have a harder time getting to islands where there are no 
predators (does anybody, for instance, know if places like the Galapagos 
and Hawaii or other oceanic islands have bats?) and they just aren't as 
adept at moving on the ground as birds are.