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Re: flight stroke (pretty short)




Waylon Rowley wrote:

> [long tails]
> > Could you elaborate please? (jrc)
>
> If they had little need for bipedal running and spent most of their
> time getting from here to there by
> flying why would they need a tail to counterbalance the body?

In order to counteract the nose-down pitching moment produced by the
wings while in flight.  Note though that there are also other ways to
produce a tail download, or to reduce the pitching moment.  And, as the
brain becomes more specialised for flight and stability becomes less of
a factor, maintaining a tail download becomes less important as well.
Therefore, as the brain develops for flight, selection for tail length
should randomise (insofar as flight features are concerned -- other
selection factors would remain in play).  I would expect this to hold
for birds, bats, pterosaurs, and airplanes.