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RE: flight stroke (pretty short)



David Marjanovic wrote:

> Maybe when it doesn't realize that what it's doing is novel. :-) (A few
> proposed examples are: [snip] FUCHSIA -- the theropods
> flapped faster and faster and realized afterwards that they had left the 
> water;

Flippant response: "Hey, this is pretty cool!" said the suddenly-airborne
_Archaeopteryx_, flying out of the water in a watery plume.  "Unfortunately,
those fish I was chasing can't fly - and I'm hungry!!"

Serious response (and taking this FUCHSIA model seriously for once): This
swimming-->flying model only defers an explanation for how repetitive arm
movements (incipient flapping) came about.  How did a feathery forelimb
start to be used as a swimming device?  Swimming, after all, requires
repetitive strokes?

Someone mentioned the feathertail glider (_Acrobates pygmaeus_), which has
stiff hairs sticking out of either side of its tail.  This device apparently
assists in steering and braking prior to landing. 

By the way, speaking of marsupials, a new possum has just been described in
Australia: _Trichosurus cunninghamii_.  Specimens have been known for a long
time (alive and well), but only recently recognized as a very distinct
species.



Tim