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Re: The life of birds

Dann Pigdon wrote [Thu, 03 Dec 1998 20:05:39 +1100]:

> The first episode of Dave Attenborough's "The Life of Birds" aired here in
Australia on sunday....<  
> Dave (or at least his researchers) makes a good argument on why flight may
have developed. He uses the fact that many birds have become flightless in
predator-free environments to suggest that flight may have originally arisen
to escape predation. Of course it doesn't say anything about the ground-up
or trees-down theories, but it is interesting none-the-less. <

My understanding of the program was somewhat different.  Attenborough
identified absence of predators (esp. in New Zealand) as reason for the LOSS
of flight, but didn't mention PRESENCE of predators as reason for the ORIGIN
of flight.  He didn't offer any "good argument" at all for the development
of flight. Instead he stuck, in very orthodox fashion, to tired old
scenarios of "ground up" versus "trees down" (or "cliffs down").  The
pictures were fabulous, but the narrative was ultra-conservative - despite
usual enthusiasm of the narrator!.

Tony Thulborn