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Re: Bracken




On Fri, 9 Jun 2000, Ronald Orenstein wrote:

> That is not to say, of course, that ecological equivalents may not have 
> existed in the Mesozoic - given the absence of grasses I would be amazed 
> if there were no such plants.

Did grass usurp a previously owned niche, or did it _create_ a new
one?  I don't know.  I do know grass is very special! 

>  And of course bracken is not the only living 
> fern capable of providing concealment; Dicranopteris ferns form high, dense 
> and pretty much impenetrable thickets along forest edge in many tropical 
> areas, including Hawaii.

The great value of grass--one of the great values of grass, anyway--is its
abilty to thrive in arid areas.  This combination seems to be perfect for
ostriches.