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Re: Lemurs and Feathers (well, Arthropods, too!)

  I sincerely hope I don't come across as aggravating...

Steve Brusatte (dinoland@lycos.com) wrote:

<Basically, I could have prevented saying all of the above by
writing this one statement: insect flight is not related to bird
flight per se, but studying both the evolution of insect wings
and how insects utilize those wings can tell us about the
evolution of the avian wing. Better study is needed, though.>

  The method in which an insect's wing moves through air is
different than the manner in which a bird's does. This is
mechanically related to the size of the wing, and relative size.
It is also essentially not a birds wing, but a helicopter rotor,
from what I'm to understand, only sideways and paired (or quad).

  That insects went through a "hover" phase is corrolary to
birds, but the mechanics and origins are distinctly different. A
vertebrate has different constraints on its design than an
arthropod does, even a volant one, and these must be considered.
So while I'm no flight expert, I can see the distinction here is
to be essentially noted: whether one has ascended from a
viscuous, thick to diffuse, open environment as water to air, or
one has remained in an open environment, makes all the
difference in differentiating how an animal learns to fly.
Generalizing flyers is not to be done without studying each
group separate from the others, and not saying "well, in birds
it did this, so let's see if they did this in arthropods...".
It's saying "what a unique thing, I wonder what intermediate
arthropods might elaborate on the evolution of such a structure,
keeping in mind functional aerodynamics and physics..."

Jaime A. Headden

  Where the Wind Comes Sweeping Down the Pampas!!!!

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