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Re: Biped advantage



>In a message dated 96-11-16 03:06:02 EST, pwillis@ozemail.com.au (Paul
>Willis) writes:
>
><< Oops. _former_ tree dwellers? I think not. Tree kangaroos have secondarily
> adapted to life in the trees (and a pretty ungainly one at that). >>
>
>This is very interesting. Any idea as to how this notion became established?

The comonly accepted line is that Rat Kangaroos are plesiomorphic for the
group and primitive forms such as the Musky Rat Kangaroo (Hypsyprymnus)
life on rainforest floors. In this environment they develop a rolling,
bounding gait usedul for getting around on forest floors where logs and
rebree can get in your way. As rainforests began to disappear from
Australia and more open forests and plains became common, this bounding
gait developed into the kangaroo hop we are familiar with today. Somewhere
along this line some kangaroos decided to climb trees instead. Why they did
this is a mystery, they really arn't very good at it, but it is definately
a derived condition for roos and not their origin.

Cheers, Paul


Dr Paul M.A. Willis
Consulting Vertebrate Palaeontologist
Quinkana Pty Ltd
pwillis@ozemail.com.au