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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.


Cheers,

--Mike


Michael Habib, M.S. PhD. Candidate Center for Functional Anatomy and Evolution Johns Hopkins School of Medicine 1830 E. Monument Street Baltimore, MD 21205 (443) 280 0181 habib@jhmi.edu