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RE: origin of bats

Michael Habib wrote:

> Keep in mind that the distal wing could be functional in some climbing
> maneuvers, but still be folded away in typical bat style during rest.
> The lingering of the claws suggests that they might have been important
> very close to the origin of flight (or simultaneous with it); that's
> the point being made, anyway.

You know, if you replace "climbing" with "predation", and "bat" with "bird", 
you have a nice synopsis of the maniraptoran origin of birds, especially w.r.t. 
the semilunate carpal.

> The digit II claw in flying foxes is not entirely non-functional. They
> are also quadrupedal suspensory climbers, mostly via digit I of course,
> so we might suppose that the loss of the other claws and the evolution
> of extreme folding in the wing simply moved the quad climbing loads to
> the first digit. Doesn't seem to speak to bipedalism specifically.

Agreed.  New Zealand short-tailed bats (Mystacinidae) also use their forelimbs 
for climbing.  In this case, such behavior is almost certainly derived for 
Chiroptera (and mystacinids appear to have several autapomorphies for making 
climbing easier).  However, it does demonstrate that the presence of a 
specialized wing (and wing-folding mechanism) in bats is entirely compatible 
with climbing.  



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