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Tracy Ford wrote:
<As to some one else's question/statement that only flightlessness in
birds is found on islands only. What about Diatryma, Phororhacos,
Brontornithids, Dryornitthids, Cunampaiidae, Bathornithidae or
Cariamia? (I don't know if all of them were flighless, but I now the
first 4 were). Did they evolve on an island then move to the mainland?
I don't know, but, they came from flighted birds.>

  The first 4 and the second from the last. Cariamids are not
flightless, but are obligate cursors, prefering, like the roadrunner,
to jog around but will fly if _really_ provoked.

  None from islands, but don't forget the columbiform (?Columbidae)
dodos, who apparent flapped there and POOF! Look ma, no flight! Same
for the nene, apparently. Those two are island birds. Psilopterid
(sp?) phorusrhacoids were flight capable, as you (Tracy) intimate (I
think) but may have been more similar to cariamids (in appearance, in
predatory habits, probably etc., now stepping over the line of
ethology in fossils....). But yes, none of the actual _groups_ of
flightless birds evolved on islands (Australia is not included,
continent-wise, as island hopping is certainly possible in the last
couple periods (Paleocene, etc.)).

Jaime A. Headden

Qilong, the website, at:
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