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Re: Big-brained birds evolve faster

----- Original Message ----- From: "Dann Pigdon" <dannj@alphalink.com.au>
To: "DML" <dinosaur@usc.edu>
Sent: Tuesday, August 19, 2008 8:46 PM
Subject: Re: Big-brained birds evolve faster

I'm simply suggesting that where the correlation between diverse bird lineages (ie. 'fast evolving'
groups) and brain size is concerned, that brain size might be the result instead of the cause. Some
lineages might not 'evolve fast' (whatever that means) because of their big brains, but rather more
diverse lineages may be more likely to spawn larger-brained species. You don't necessarily need
to be smart to be successful (ask any shark or croc - or bacterium for that matter).

I'm curious: could the same thing be said about forelimb morphology? I would think that most would say "Of course the wings of birds allowed them to enter niches unavailable to other organisms, leading to greater diversity." If this is true, why is the same claim for large brains more controversial?