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Re: Diatryma and mammals!
>I claim these observations are in conflict with each other. Indeed,
>Andors' evidence suggests the Diatryma were perhaps restricted by
>something outside swamps--mammals. One would think that in the something
>like 20 million years these birds existed that they could undergo a more
>widespread radiation than swamps. If they had no predators (as Martin
>suggests) why could they not extend their range, why could they not
>develop traits for use in a wider range of biomes?
My first question would be, what is the evidence that Diatryma was restricted
to swamps? I have never heard evidence that they were swampbound at all.
Feduccia, in citing Andors in The Origin and Evolution of Birds notes that
habitat, as deduced from depositional environments, was coastal lowlands and
alluvial floodplains". First of all, these designations do not equate to
swamps, though swamps occur in them. I have been in plenty of coastal lowland
forests that were dry as a bone.
Second, affinity to Anseriformes does not imply swamp habitat either. Some
bona fide members of the duck family wouldn't know a swamp if they fell over
one (eg the Nene of Hawaii, which lives, at least today, mostly in dry
uplands) - and Diatryma, whatever its affinities, is certainly not a duck.
Ronald I. Orenstein Phone: (905) 820-7886
International Wildlife Coalition Fax/Modem: (905) 569-0116
1825 Shady Creek Court
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