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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.


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