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RE: origin of bats/




David Peters wrote:


>> The fact that we can't imagine a particular story to go with it is of 
>> limited importance in this regard. Mechanically, climbing with only digit>> 
>> one, while folding the other digits clearly works (as bats currently use 
>> this method). 

> But this is clearly secondary. 


It is for modern bats, yes.  But who's to say that proto-bats didn't do this 
too - especially since the manus was better equipped for this purpose.


> Evolution always chooses the best solution to a problem. 


No; this is just crap.  Not only is it demonstrably incorrect, but it's 
essentially a statement of teleology.


> Hey, I'm just the messenger. It's just a new idea. That's all.


I think it might be helpful at this juncture to point out that your 
"bats-from-civets" idea is not being criticized simply because it's a "new" 
idea.  This is a common misconception that many people have of their own new 
and revolutionary ideas.  The difficulty with "bats-from-civets" is that it's 
so poorly supported: a vague "just-so" story based on cherry-picking certain 
behaviors from individual modern taxa (e.g., modern civits), combined with a 
phylogenetic analysis of dubious methodological credibility.  Much of your 
"evidence" is little more than assertions about what you (D. Peters) think the 
first bats were (or were not) capable of.  


In other words, new and revolutionary ideas aren't always wrong.  But they 
aren't always right either; and it's only fair to expose these new hypotheses 
to same rigorous scientific testing as current hypotheses.


As Mike Keesey said, what you're proposing is that bats evolved from within 
crown-group feliform carnivorans.  This is an extraordinary claim.  Such claims 
require extraordinary evidence.  It would be helpful if you could tone down the 
rhetoric, and instead try and substantiate this hypothesis with more than just 
hand-waving.


(BTW, if anyone is interested in a PDF of Flynn and Wesley-Hunt [2005; J. Syst. 
Palaeontol. 3: 1-28], just contact me off-list.)


Cheers

Tim

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