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Re: Sifaka and Chukar Behavior: Trees Down or Ground Up?

Richard W Travsky wrote:
> The tail isn't going to provide the kind of control that tails of more
> modern birds provides. However, it looks like this critter could've kept
> its legs together and performed some of the same functions a modern tail
> could. Plus, spreading its legs a bit could approximate a split tail.
> IOW, it adjusted its leg positions to get different flight
> characteristics.

My thoughts exactly. The hind limbs may have functioned in a similar way
to the broader tail fans of birds. This got me thinking: could the tail
fan of M.gui have been oriented vertically, instead of horizontally? The
skull reminds me superficially of that of Dimorphodon (the x-ray in the
paper seems to include the rest of the skull, possibly from the
counter-slab), and the tail is certainly similar. Could critters like
this have filled a niche left behind when long-tailed pterosaurs bit the

As far as the legs go, I imagine that at the end of a glide, lowering
the legs into a landing position  might tip the back end of the body
down, resulting in a perfect stance to land on a tree trunk feet-first
(much like a gliding possum). Plus, if the legs could sprawl this much,
I imagine it would aid in hugging a vertical trunk squirrel or koala
style. It certainly looks like a VERY arborial animal, perhaps only
coming down to earth about as often as a koala does.


Dann Pigdon                   Australian Dinosaurs:
GIS / Archaeologist         http://www.geocities.com/dannsdinosaurs
Melbourne, Australia        http://www.alphalink.com.au/~dannj/