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Re: flapping from gliding

Nick Longrich wrote:

>       Creatures that specialize in leaping after insects or other flying
>animals  (If this were actually a viable niche, you'd expect at
>least one group -the frogs- to fill it), creaturesthat run around using 
>limbs and tail as airbrakes:
>       extant: ??? extinct: ??? 

Don't confuse Ostrom's ecological suggestion (which he has never seriously
advocated, despite references from others) of protobirds as insect chasers
with the anatomical evidence for a terrestrial life habit and associated
hindlimb form for the ancestors of birds.

>       I think if there's any reason we are so taken with
> ground-up theories, it's because we're ground living ourselves and that's
> how we ourselves did it.

Or the fact that birds, unique among flying OR gliding vertebrates (with the
possible exception of pterosaurs) do NOT incorporate the hindlimb into the
aerial locomotory module.  Birds retain a terrestrial running component to
their hindlegs, whereas the hindlimbs of those creatures you mention above
(with the exception of the other flying diapsids) use the hindlimbs as well
as the forelimbs in flight/gliding.

Thomas R. Holtz, Jr.
Vertebrate Paleontologist     Webpage: http://www.geol.umd.edu
Dept. of Geology              Email:th81@umail.umd.edu
University of Maryland        Phone:301-405-4084
College Park, MD  20742       Fax:  301-314-9661

"There are some who call me...  Tim."
-- Tim the Enchanter, "Monty Python and Quest for the Holy Grail"

"Tim?!?  They called me TIM?!?!"
-- me, on seeing the credits to "The Ultimate Guide to T. rex"  :-)