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The Lizard of Oz (was Re: A question about Feduccia's claim of convergence)




Silvio Renesto wrote:

Chlamydosaurus is primarily arboreal, and clungs high  in the canopy, but
uses bipedal locomotion during routine foraging. These lizards are sit and
wait predators descending from their arboreal vantage points to run
bipedally at preys (larvae and other insects).

An excellent strategy for hunting, especially if you're small and have bipedal capabilities. Lurking in the branches of trees puts you at a distance from larger predators. It also provides shade, camouflage and an excellent vantage point for spying prey (as Silvio said). When prey is sighted, the little predator can leap down to the ground and chase down small prey.

The little hunter doesn't require highly-specialized perching or gliding
capabilities - just the ability to climb trees and "sit and wait" in the
tree-tops.  Well done, Frilled lizard!

I would be surprised if this behavior has never evolved in any other group
of small predators.  Even better, if these predators could evolve
drag-creating structures of some kind to slow down their descents and
provide extra maneuverability while in the air...

Oh, wait.  Hang on...


Tim



------------------------------------------------------------

Timothy J. Williams

USDA/ARS Researcher
Agronomy Hall
Iowa State University
Ames IA 50014

Phone: 515 294 9233
Fax:   515 294 3163

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