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Re: Giant flightless birds

>The only 'bird-relatives' I can think of that lost digits are 'terror
>birds' and Mononykus, both of whom seem to be more efficient at stabbing
>things with their claw-stub then with multiple claws.  Are there others?

I am not aware that the "terror birds" did lose digits (or that we know
enough about the manus to say so).  The Titanis limb elements are of course
nothing like Mononykus.  As I pointed out earlier, kiwis and moas have lost
digits (the whole limb in the latter case).

>Birds also have the odd trend of loosing toes...as with the two-toed
>ostrich.  Maybe birds as a group have a genetic preponderance to loose

I doubt it.  Among the 9,000-plus species of living birds there is
precisely one with two toes, the Ostrich.  Of other birds, a number of
terrestrial species and seabirds (eg albatrosses, some shorebirds including
the Sanderling) have lost the hallux but none have lost any other digit.
Ronald I. Orenstein                           Phone: (905) 820-7886
International Wildlife Coalition              Fax/Modem: (905) 569-0116
1825 Shady Creek Court                 
Mississauga, Ontario, Canada L5L 3W2          mailto:ornstn@home.com