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Re: Eoconfuciusornis, Paraprotopteryx, Pengornis, Aberratiodontus and other basal birds



> > description, where it attached itself to a "clade"
> of
> > galliforms, tinamous and terrestrial pigeons).
> 
> Considering that the "clade" in question includes a
> range of burst- 
> launching species, I'm not sure I'd call them
> weak-flying taxa.

"Do you want white or dark meat with that?"

Correct, at least as regards Galliformes. I do not
know if there is any study on _Goura_ etc; there might
be something on tinamous (IIRC the behavior at least
fits the bill).

Rails are also notoriously "weak-flying" in a way;
they habitually void their bowels to gain sufficient
lift. But once airborne, they have sufficient energy
reserves for staying airborne for long - but not
sufficient remiges/rectrices adaptations for directing
the course of their flight as much at their own will
as do most other birds. Or so the theory goes
regarding how on about every Pacific island you dig
around a bit on you'll gonna find some bones of
_Gallirallus_ and/or _Porzana_.

As regards _Piksi_ - it had the elbow morphology of
birds that are optimized for mostly terrestrial habits
and for burst-performance rather than
long-distance-performance flight effort, are not
usually long-distance migrants, are rarely if ever
predators of terrestrial vertebrates and so on. Quite
a bit one can glean from a brkoen elbow I guess. Not
much use phylogenetically, but *that* might be handled
differently. Or maybe not - there is by now a number
of non-crown-group birds to which it might be compared
to cladistically. We'll find out sooner or later.


Eike


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