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Re: vaulting pterosaur launch, questions



----- Original Message -----
From: "jrc" <jrccea@bellsouth.net>
Sent: Monday, June 16, 2008 9:55 PM

However, as with the Wright brothers, you can't very well have powered flight until you can have controlled flight.

Actually, you can, but it leads to a lot of kersplats. What it would more likely lead to, is very stable flight modes in the earlier forms of flying vertebrates. Long tails, etc.

And that's exactly what we see in pterosaurs and in birds. Not in bats so far, though. Should I take this as evidence that flight started ground-up in pterosaurs and birds but trees-down in bats, so that the bats evolved control during their hypothetical gliding phase before they started flapping? :-)


Personally, I think flight origins were probably neither trees down
nor ground up, but rather a mixture of making
use of all energy sources available.

This requires, of course, that the animals in question were fairly good at climbing. For theropods that's not so clear. *Archaeopteryx* in particular has very terrestrial feet.