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Re: Sifaka and Chukar Behavior: Trees Down or Ground Up?
On Wed, 29 Jan 2003, Dann Pigdon wrote:
> 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.
> 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.
With the combined area of the regular wings and the legs landing would
have been greatly facilitated.
One other thought comes to mind is insect catching in the way some bats
use their tails as an aid thereto.
There must've been some way to keep the leg feathers from wearing on
surfaces; I can't image it let them drag around.