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Re: Ostrom Symposium - Part 2

Tom Holtz writes:

>It was a joke, dammit, a joke...  (Sheesh...)  Heck, as you point out, at
>least your questions were among the most pertinent.

Ah.  Whew.  Geez, one meeting and already I'm pissing people off that I
respect...  you had me worried! (After all, I have endured a lifetime of
people suggesting that I was not the most laconic of mortals)

>Because it was the original basis for Ostrom recognizing the cursorial
>origin: birds, unlike other flying and gliding vertebrates, do nor
>incorporate the hindlimb into the flight membrane, but instead retain full
>non-flight locomotory function of them.  (Okay, except for apodiforms).

I still don't follow.  Bats surely evolved from arboreal ancestors, and
incorporate the legs in the flight membrane, and there are no legless bats
either (in fact some scurry around on the ground rather well).  The only
way I could imagine a fully legless bird evolving would be as an aquatic
species (and the constraint there may be, as someone suggested to me, the
need to return to land to breed) or (and here's a stretch) as a flightless,
fossorial one (well, an endoparasitic bird might not need legs either, but
I think I'm straying into snouter territory).  Of course, Europeans once
believed birds of paradise had no legs.....

>I can't remember who it was (Tim Rowe) who commented that no one really
>discovers anything new: some 19th Century German actually already published
>that idea in a comparative anatomy paper...

I think the comment was to the effect that every possible idea in
palaeontology has already been written up in German....
Ronald I. Orenstein                           Phone: (905) 820-7886
International Wildlife Coalition              Fax/Modem: (905) 569-0116
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