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Re: pterosaurs, bats, flying theropods

AN EMENDATION: no Cretaceous bats are known, but this
does not mean their ancestors were not already
beginning to diversity. Absence of discoveries does
not mean absence of taxa.

--- Stephan Pickering <stefanpickering2002@yahoo.com>
>     The intertwined histories (at least, in my mind)
> of theropods, pterosaurs, and bats is yet to be
> untangled. No doubt, as Greg Paul has suggested, the
> flying theropods drove pterosaurs into extinction,
> and
> bats (who are NOT flying primates, and have never
> been
> secondarily flightless) emerged, so to speak, to
> compete with the dinosaurs in the Cenozoic, all
> three
> clades sharing distal airfoils. Theropods differed,
> of
> course, in being bipedal: their hands and legs
> being,
> as it were, separate components for locomotion,
> whereas in bats, and presumably most pterosaurs,
> hands
> + legs were the foundations for flight mechanisms.
>     In two months, a major work is appearing, which
> will likely reshape our interpretations of bats,
> pterosaurs, and flying dinosaurs, reaffirm the work
> of
> Greg Paul and supplement the phylogenetics of bats
> being done by Kate Jones and Nancy Simmons.
>     T.H. Kunz & M.B. Fenton, eds., 2003. Bat Ecology
> (Univ. Chicago Press), 710pp.
>     Among the various chapters in this awe-full
> compendium, I would urge List members to study:
>     T.H. Kunz & Linda F. Lumsden, Ecology of cavity
> and foliage roosting bats
>     J.D. Altringham & M.B. Fenton, Sensory ecology
> and
> communication in the Chiroptera
>     Sharon M. Swartz, Particia W. Freeman, Elizabeth
> F. Stockwell, Ecomorphology of bats
>     Gareth Jones & Jens Rydell, Attack and defense:
> interactions between echolocating bats and their
> insect prey
>     J.R. Speakman & D.W. Thomas, Physiological
> ecology
> and energetics of bats
>     Nancy B. Simmons & T.M. Conway, Evolution of
> ecological diversity in bats [with an excellent
> elucidation of the known fossil history]
>     No doubt, Chris Bennett & Kevian Padian, et al.,
> may tire of the comparisons between bats and
> pterosaurs, but my feeling is that, during the end
> Cretaceous, when the flying dinosaurs out-competed,
> as
> it were, the pterosaurs, diversification of bats may
> have been well underway. Insects were adapting their
> own ultrasonic receptors to avoid bats etc., but
> echolocating abilities of the bats surpassed any
> such
> propensities among the theropods who relied on
> brains
> and vision (to simplify the picture). And the
> complex
> ecological web of insects + dinosaurs + pterosaurs +
> bats may have entailed profound adaptations in
> environmentally stressed regions of fast-slow
> dynamical systems. Dinosaurs, as Greg Paul notes,
> during the Cenozoic to date, are surprisingly
> diverse
> in morphology, whereas bats are not. But, without
> stepping on scholarly toes, I suggest that bats just
> might give some light on ecomorphologies of the
> cluttered skies at the end of the Cretaceous: flight
> adaptations, vision, vocal/chemical signals, etc.
> And,
> this new book edited by Kunz/Fenton just might
> provide
> us with further extrapolation tools.
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