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Re: Multiple losses of flight in ratites?



Wow. Cool. Cannot wait to read the paper.

Although the authors are probably correct in their reasoning, it does seem a little circular. If there were birds that regained flight from a flightless ancestor, would we necessarily recognize them as such? Or would we just assume that if a given lineage of birds includes more than one flightless species separated by at least one flighted species then it's always the result of multiple losses of flight?

Geography certainly helps. The most drastic example is that all those flightless rails (most of them inside *Gallirallus*, AFAIK) occur on oceanic islands that lie way beyond what any flightless nonmarine mammal (save us and our accompanying fauna, obviously) has ever reached.