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Re: The origin of flight: from the water up (short!)

----- Original Message -----
From: <NJPharris@aol.com>
Sent: Tuesday, March 26, 2002 12:01 AM

> > And in the non-flapping phases songbirds at least
> > don't glide, they simply tuck in their wings and fall.
> Try watching a starling sometime.

Good idea... :-] in the absence of starlings, I see quite a diversity:
sparrows do what I described above, blackbirds use wild combinations of
flapping, gliding and parachuting instead. So I stand partly corrected. All
these songbirds (Passeriformes) are pretty perfect fliers, though, and their
ancestors have been the same for tens of Ma.

----- Original Message -----
From: "James R. Cunningham" <jrccea@bellsouth.net>
Sent: Monday, March 25, 2002 7:42 PM

> > OK... fast flapping might not [destabilize gliding].
> > The first (relatively slow) downstroke,
> > though, certainly would, wouldn't it? :-)
> I don't see any reason why it would.  Please explain it to me (in words of
> syllable or less -- I'm not too sharp).

Hm. Imagine a glider, something like a gliding squirrel or "lemur", that
suddenly, in mid-air, moves its forelimbs (or all fours) down. Wouldn't it
fall? In any case, no recent glider does that AFAIK.

(Hm. Two syllables on average. -- _Less_ than one syllable? Such as the
first three words of "who'd'a' thunk"? ;-) )