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Re: mammal mystery
>How about this: a deep oceanic island inhabited by secondarily
>flightless birds and pterosaurs?
Yes. That's exactly the sort of thing I'm talking about. I think that birds
and pterosaurs are certainly likely candidates for successful colonisation
and faunal dominance, given what we see with sea birds today. But certainly
turtles and squamates could have played important roles. And I'm still
wondering about mammals.
Somewhere, surely, such a fossil fauna has been preserved at least *once*,
though the odds may well be against its ever being discovered.
Can anyone think of an extant island ecosystem, an island that did not
originate by breaking away from a larger land mass (so never mind Madagascar
and Tasmania and such), where mammals are the dominate tetrapods? I can't.
Why? Surely small mammals can and do make the crossings. But only pinnipeds
seem to become important to the faunas of coral or volcanic islands. Birds
and reptiles (and mostly birds) seem to win out.
Caitlin R, Kiernan