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Re: Campbell's even crazier than a MANIAC? (archeopteryx
Also, this part of the tree (basal Neornithes, with Neornithes being
the crown clade) is crowded with large flightless taxa: ratites,
dromornithids, diatrymids, brontornithids. Is this a consequence of
chronology (i.e., many large-bodied flightless forms emerged soon
after the K/T extinction, because of the availability of recently
vacated niches); or did some innate property of basal neornithean
anatomy/behavior make them more likely to give up flight (such as
their level of flight capability).
Great question. Interestingly enough, among modern birds, many of the
neoflightless taxa show up in long-distance flyers. In fact, this
turns out to be somewhat predictable based on development, physiology,
ecology, and flight mechanics of endurance birds.
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