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Re: Origin of flapping (was: Re: Feduccia [was: polarity...])...)

Norm King wrote:

>I like long, strong, reaching arms first, leading to wings.  So I think 
>Ron is on the right track--for birds and maybe even pterosaurs and bats.

I agree that this makes sense - I would add that a stable trunk may also be
a necessity here, which is not necessarily the case for a glider (viz. the
living Flying Snake!)

>What if a glider is swooping down toward its prey but the prey hears the 
>rush of air at the last moment (or its companion prey see it and noisily 
>scatter) and tries to side-step or bolt ahead?  Maybe a sudden, frantic 
>(hence, energetic) flapping might prolong the glide or turn it aside to 
>still catch dodging prey.  If the forest thins out to a great degree, 
>trees will be farther apart, and gliders that can prolong their glides 
>using incipiently powered flight might have an advantage.
>Norman R. King 

Judging by what I have seen or read about the living gliders (most of which
admittedly are herbivores) I am not sure that gliding (in the specialized
gliders) should be looked upon as a prey-catching technique - more likely it
is a technique for navigating between prey patches, with foraging taking
place afterwards (IOW forager snarfs bugs in tree A, glides to tree B, hunts
around and snarfs more bugs).  My limited observations of Draco spp in
Borneo were of lizards that were not hunting, just getting about, on their
glides (does anyone know if they actually forage in the air?).
Ronald I. Orenstein                           Phone: (905) 820-7886 (home)
International Wildlife Coalition              Fax/Modem: (905) 569-0116 (home)
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