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Re: Testing competitive exclusion in birds, bats and pterosaurs
Jim Cunningham wrote:
Birds developed the specializations for marine soaring flight within 5
million years of the demise of pterosaurs (different requirements from
terrestrial soaring). I think a speculative case could be made that
pterosaurs may have been excluding birds from this niche.
I agree with you on this point. The group you're referring to
(Odontopterygiformes) were marine soarers in the Paleocene. Although there
is indirect evidence that that this group may have been around in the later
Cretaceous (see http://dml.cmnh.org/2006May/msg00247.html), there is no
direct fossil evidence of any marine soaring birds at this time. Then
again, we haven't yet discovered any odontopterygiforms at all from the
Cretaceous, so we just don't know how early they became marine soarers.
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