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re: origin of bats/reply 2 to TMK

TMK wrote:<<  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.>>

Granted, certain tetrapods only need hind feet to climb (woodpeckers, etc.), 
but mammals, especially Paleocene ones, would have a tough time doing the same. 
So the question is, if bats were climbing using all fours, why and how would 
the change to using only the thumbs and folding the other fingers under 
actually work?  IMHO there has to be an intermediate stage because if something 
is working right (climbing hands) they donât change without intervention.

If you look at Ptilocercus and Nandinia, both are quadrupedal climbers, but 
both hold their prey with their hands. Both enjoy inverted locomotion. Nandinia 
likes to jump out of trees. Ptilocercus has a fairly naked tail. Not much, but 
itâs a start. 

There's more of course...

 David Peters