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[firstname.lastname@example.org: Broad-billed parrots: flightless or not?]
I shouldn't be doing this ...
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Delivery-date: Fri, 27 Jan 2006 09:49:02 +0100
From: "Darren Naish" <email@example.com>
Organization: University of Portsmouth
Date: Fri, 27 Jan 2006 08:48:48 +0100
Subject: Broad-billed parrots: flightless or not?
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In a desperate effort to burn away what little spare time I
have, please fwd the following to DML. I don't think
anyone else 'properly' answered the question.
Ian Paulsen wrote...
I was wondering if anyone knows if the above extinct parrot
was flightless or not? The info I have seen says both
flightless and could fly.
The real :) answer to the question is somewhat complex, in
that parrot experts have been divided over the answer.
Hachisuka (1953), Holyoak (1971) and others assumed
flightlessness on the basis of the sketch provided by
Newton & Newton (1876) where short wings were depicted.
But Hume (2003) was able to show that the original
drawing reveals longer wings - and wings long enough to,
theoretically, enable the bird to fly. The osteology also
indicates a flight ability, plus there are illustrations showing
the birds in flight (see Hume 2003).
So, despite contentions that _Lophopsittacus_ was kakapo-
like (and, in any case, kakapos aren't completely flightless),
the evidence does not favour flightlessness. I say all of this
with an illegally borrowed copy of Julian Hume's phd thesis
to hand: it includes tons of new data on Mascarene parrots,
most of which will see publication soon.
Refs - -
Hachisuka, M. 1953. _The Dodo and Kindred Birds or the
Extinct Birds of the Mascarene Islands_. H. F. & G.
Witherby (London), pp. 250.
Holyoak, D. 1971. Comments on the extinct parrot
_Lophopsittacus mauritianus_. _Ardea_ 59, 50-51.
Hume, J. P. 2003. The journal of the flagship Gelderland √
dodo and other birds on Mauritius 1601. _Archives of
Natural History_ 30, 13-27.
Newton, A. & Newton, E. 1876. On the Psittaci of the
Mascarene Islands. _Ibis_ (series 3) 6, 281-289.
School of Earth & Environmental Sciences
Burnaby Building, Burnaby Rd
University of Portsmouth
Portsmouth, UK, PO1 3QL
[send large attachments to: firstname.lastname@example.org]
blog at: http://darrennaish.blogspot.com/
tel: 023 92846045
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