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TRULY WINGLESS BIRDS



Ron Orenstein said..

> Also, NO known bird (even kiwis) has completely lost all wing
> elements as a consequence of flightlessness.

Wrong. Moa truly have lost all trace of the forelimb. They have a pectoral
girdle, but they have even lost the glenoid fossa. In this reduction they are
unique amongst archosaurs (AFAIK).

Re the ground-hugging rail thread, John Bois should note that rallids are
specially adapted for moving through dense, low herbage (as Ron has emphasised).
Some rallids (_Rallus aquaticus_ being the best example of them all) are really
narrow in lateral aspect - in fact the term 'thin as a rail' comes from the bird
rather than the bit of metal! This allows them to move swiftly through bankside
vegetation, and when I say swiftly: man, they are fast. _Rallus_ is an odd
little beast: it eats carrion as well as small aquatic inverts and weeds and has
been known to kill proportionally large waterbirds (e.g. baby coot). It can also
jump to a height of 1 m or more.
 
"About bloody time. What do they want us to do?"

DARREN NAISH