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Re: Testing for arboreality



Since Tom either neglected to mention, forgot (or perhaps, could it
possibly be... is unaware?) of some relevant research, I thought I'd
also throw in a lead for anyone wanting to take up the mantle of
testing for arboreal/scansorial abilities...  Go through the Science
Citation Index and search for papers written by or citing papers
written by Jonathan Losos.  Losos is one of a group of individuals who
have been studying the evolution of morphotypes in Caribbean anoles
(in case you don't know, these are lizards).  Most Caribbean islands
have species of anole inhabiting various terrestrial and arboreal
microhabitats.  For instance, some anoles spend most of their time
clinging to tree trunks while others spend most of their time higher
up in the branches, and still others generally avoid trees.  It's not
necessarily the same species inhabiting the same microhabitats on each
island, and that's what makes the animals particularly interesting.
Losos (and others) have been looking at parallelisms and convergences
in the evolution of form among anoles.  You can tell in which
microhabitat a particular species spends most of its life by doing one
of the things Tom suggested -- measuring the proportions of various
limb elements.  Since the body plans of anoles and theropods are so
different I doubt that the specific measurements would be helpful, but
you could draw insight and inspiration from the approach.

So basically, when Tom wrote:

> Among the groups to examine would be [ ... ] a lotta lizards.

I thought I should say that some people have already done a lot of the
leg work.  (Ouch, did I actually say that?)

-- 
Mickey Rowe     (rowe@psych.ucsb.edu)