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RE: Possums was Anhingas (A Challenge)

Don Ohmes wrote:

They are prolific, omnivorous and adapt well to urban
environments. That explains how they survive in their
present form, but does it explain why they don't
"improve", particularly relative to locomotion? They
don't climb well, run well, or even walk well relative
to other mammals.

The same applies to rats, AFAIK. Last I heard, the brown rat _Rattus norwegicus_ is doing quite well (alas).

If possums are a
young species, that negates the basic premise ("little
or no change since 'way back when") of the question
right there.

Well, I'm not sure how young/old the didelphid lineage actually is. It may take some book-learnin' to figure out when opossums first appear in the fossil record.

BTW, the origin of modern didelphids is a separate question to the origin of the body plan of modern didelphids. The latter may go back a lot further than the first identifiable crown-group didelphid (which may be as good a definition as any for what qualifies as an 'opposum'). It is possible that didelphids retained the body plan (and ecomorphology) that is primitive for the Didelphoidea, Didelphimorphia, or some even more inclusive group. I can't comment any further, because marsupial evolution isn't really my forte.

[Way greasy and too much trouble in my view. You got
to cage them, feed them corn for two weeks (see "Fear
Factor" diet, above), then kill them, burn off the
hair, scald and scrape them like a hog... bake them
whole w/ sweet potatoes, and then they are only just
OK, IMO. I hear the hardcore folks don't remove the
entrails cause they are "stuffed with pure corn".

Stop - you're making me hungry!