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Re: (origin of the palaeognathous palate)

On Sun, 12 Sep 2004, David Marjanovic wrote:

> > If this is what happened, it is interesting to think
> > about why ratites sustained their success in a flightless niche whereas
> > "terror birds", "killer ducks", and Gastornis(?) could not.
> The latter three were seemingly top predators*, which made them more
> vulnerable to just about anything. Besides, the end of the gastornithids
> could well coincide with the end-Eocene mass extinction,

If I recall, different gastornithids died out at different times...each
coinciding with continental drainage, i.e., loss of niche/habitat

> while the other two
> survived well into the late Pleistocene... hint, hint.

Well, if man destroyed Mihirungs--which seems likely--why didn't he
destroy emus.  And an unacceptable answer would be: there were too many to

> * Thus in different ecological niches from any ratite. If we are picky, each
> and every species has an ecological niche of its own.


> Then of course ratites fared quite badly in New Zealand and Madagascar.

Maybe something to do with relatively small and prescribed range--and lack
of secretive nesting behavior.