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Re: mammal mystery



At 09:45 AM 2/18/97 PST, you wrote:
>From: John Bois <jbois@umd5.umd.edu>
> > An animal moving through 
> > tangled vegetation presents a smaller surface area if it goes head
> > first rather than torso first.  Quadrupeds go head first and have
> > fewer obstacles to deal with because of it. 
> > 
>This is also true of dinosaur style bipeds.  Only us silly humans
>do something as odd as going belly first.  In all dinosaurs I know
>of the torso was more or less horizontal, just as it is in quadru-
>peds.
>
>swf@elsegundoca.ncr.com

Once again Mr Bois is ignoring birds.  Rails are extremely good at creeping
through tangled vegetation and they do NOT travel torso-first - there are
many other examples.  The only birds I know of that habitually walk around
torso-first are some water birds with their legs set so far back on their
bodies that they have little choice (eg penguins) and the Plains-wanderer
of Australia, a bird of open grasslands.  Let Mr Bois spend a few hours (as
I have) trying to get a glimpse of a tapaculo in a Brazilian thicket and
then tell me how impossible it is for bipeds to be skulking little
creepers!  Even a fairly large rail (and some of the big ones probably bulk
larger than some small dinos) can squeeze through some pretty tight spots.
--
Ronald I. Orenstein                           Phone: (905) 820-7886
International Wildlife Coalition              Fax/Modem: (905) 569-0116
1825 Shady Creek Court                 
Mississauga, Ontario, Canada L5L 3W2          Internet: ornstn@inforamp.net