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skeletal mass & scaling
Sorry to come in to this thread a little late, but consider the following when thinking about the evolution of flight and the pneumatized skeleton:
Many texts indicate that bird bonds are specialized for lightness and strength. This is based, in part, on fusion of bones and the internal modified supportive structure. In fact, Prange (1979, Amer. Nat. 113:103-122) showed that the skelatel mass of birds and mammals do not scale differently. The particulars are interesting. Differences in the scaling of the forelimbs may be related to reduction of the oscillating mass. Differences in the scaling of the leg bones are likely related to the bipedal nature of the birds. their legs carry more weight that the hind legs of quadrupeds.There are some other adjustments in the running birds. but Prange are more interested in examining the nature of the allometric equations (geometric vs elastic scaling) than the functional implications.
More on size etc can be found in "Size, function. and life History" by Wm Calder (1984 Harvard U. P.). Information on climbing can be found here as well
Alan H. Brush
92 High St.
Mystic, CT 06355