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Furcula paper and bat tails



A paper that may be of interest, since the subject has popped up more than
once on this list:

Hui, C.A. (2002).  Avian furcula morphology may indicate relationships of
flight requirements among birds.  Journal of Morphology. 251 (3): 284-293.

Compares the shape of the furcula (wishbone) to the flight capabilities of
various birds.


Also, David Marjanovoic wrote:

> I just wonder what exactly the disadvantage of a long tail is. -- That 
> of  Rhinopomatidae is very thin, so I think it doesn't contribute much 
> to aerodynamics and the position of the center of gravity. The book 
> doesn't  mention at all what such a tail is good for. ~:-| 

These bats (Rhinopotamidae) are also called mouse-tailed bats, on account of
their long tails (the longest of any modern chiropteran).  In mice, the long
tail serves a thermoregulatory function.  Perhaps it has the same function
in rhinopotamid bats.  The presence of a tail in a flying mammal doesn't
necessarily mean that the tail has to serve an aerodynamic function.  In
free-tailed molossid bats, the tail is thought to have a tactile/sensory
function.



Tim