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Re: dinosaur phylogeny and Greek mythology
In a message dated 6/22/99 9:52:29 AM Eastern Daylight Time,
<< Nestled within this would be another "Icarus clade", consisting of those
archosaurs that had developed flight but had subsequently abandoned it for a
return to a terrestrial existence (that is, had "fallen back to earth").
Interestingly, and consistent with the legend and with Dinogeorge's theory,
those archosaurs that were secondarily flightless eventually perished like
the son Icarus, while the successful flyers survived like the father
I've been musing about this, as suggested. The outcome is inverted; the
archosaurs who chose NOT to fly perished while those who, like Icarus,
determined to fly survived.
Remember, too, that Daedalus was escaping from an intolerable employment and
considered flying only a means to an end. He warned his son not to get
carried away, not to love flying too well. That's the cautionary aspect of
the story: not to be so obsessed by the wonderful that you forget to do what
is necessary to survive. Judging by the number of times this list has made
me late to sleep/work, it's a worthwile reminder.
Again, the Icarus clan is inverted; it gave up the wonderful (flying) in
order to survive. With these two inversions, I don't think the parallel
works too well. However, it is a good way of raising the question of what
advantage of flightlessness would be so significant that a bird would give up
the advantages of flight for both escape and concealment of nests. There are
birds which can fish without wading and waders which can fly, so something
besides feeding strategy must be involved. Any speculations?
Thanks for an interesting topic to think about!