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Re: Testing for arboreality (was RE: On science (was Re: a bunch of other stuff))




What does the term "arboreal" mean in this context? Can anyone give me an
example of an extant "arboreal" avian? What bird doesn't spend some time n
the ground? When is a bird a cursor, a scansor or arboreal? Maybe
humingbirds fit as non-cursors, but I've even seen them on foot in the grass
attacking fallen flower blossoms.

There is obviously a great deal of overlap between the theoretical end-members of the cursor-scansor-arbor ternary map of behaviors -- some, like birds, as you note, spend some time on the ground and in the trees. Likewise, there is some loose-ness to the definition of arboreal -- does this simply mean it spends _some_ time in the trees? How much time? And, more importantly for the question of "arboreal" theropods (non-avian ones, that is), does the proper definition of "arboreal" include restrictions on _how_ the animal got into the trees? It's a very different thing to fly through the air and land on a branch to be "arboreal" than to have to scamper up the trunk and then manipulate ones way through numerous branches to get to the same point!


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                     Jerry D. Harris
                 Fossil Preparation Lab
          New Mexico Museum of Natural History
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