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Re: Campbell's even crazier than a MANIAC? (archeopteryx
Indeed, apparently among the most basal Palaeognathae and Neognathae
alive (tinamous and galliforms) flight is short, and that might be the
primitive condition (but not in the also basal Anseriformes), and
takes origin from the soil. Perhaps all the Cretaceous birds were not
better flyers than tinamous and chickens??.
I'm glad that you brought this up - there is a common misconception
that galliforms and similar groundbirds are "poor" flyers. Galliforms,
in particular, are not "poor" flyers, but instead are burst
specialists. Galliforms fatigue rapidly in flight, an thus have poor
sustained flight ability, but that isn't the same as being bad at
flight. In fact, burst launching requires a range of highly derived
morphological traits. Tinamous do not have the burst power of
galliforms, but they are also short-ranged, acceleration specialists.
Not sure what the launch angle is on tinamous, but galliforms can
manage a nearly 90 degree launch angle.
Michael Habib, M.S.
Center for Functional Anatomy and Evolution
Johns Hopkins School of Medicine
1830 E. Monument Street
Baltimore, MD 21205
(443) 280 0181