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RE: Non-dinosaurian surprise
Oh man, this will put so much water on the mills of
the "waitoreke" entusiasts... in any case, does
"mouse" imply a relationship with rodents? That would
be a surprise indeed, but not shocking; after all
there are scores of endemic rodents in Australia too.
If the critter's relationships lay with terrestrial
mammalian insectivores, that would indeed be fairly
revolutionary - these seem not to have dispersal
capabilities as good as rodents of comparable size,
possibly metabolism- or nutrition-related.
The interesting thing is, still, that the lineage was
competed out of existence by birds = dinos in a time
when usually the opposite was true, after apparently
thriving for some time. Vulcanism, however, cannot be
excluded as another candidate for extinctions
(supposing an endemic lineage of mammals managed to
prosper to some extent - possibly on one island of NZ
only - in a narrow niche they managed to carve out
from their avian competitors*, and was later so much
affected by one of the mega-vulcanism events that have
happened there that it ultimately failed).
* Apparently, conventional bats could not compete with
NZ insectivorous birds, so that the endemic bat
lineage was driven down on the ground where they do
most their foraging now - i.e., those NZ bats that
were not eaten to extinction by dogs later on.
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