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Re: New MANIAC book is out!

The "short description" by amazon.de, which is probably the blurb supplied by the author:

... The environment opened up making it difficult for poor fliers and gliders as forested areas became less dense. Secondarily flightless terrestrial forms and birds with full flight capabilities survived best in these new environments. Eventually, birds of modern aspect probably replaced the primitive maniraptorans since they were more efficient fliers and had evolved higher metabolic rates suitable for the cooler climate.

I am becoming increasingly frustrated by the consistent use (in multiple camps, not just aiming at the MANIACs) of the terms "poor flier" and "good flier". What, exactly, is a poor flyer? Living flyers that inhabit forested terrain are often highly maneuverable and capable of landing and launching in very difficult and cluttered environments. Are they poor fliers? Open terrain species are, contrary to what the blurb seems to suggest, often semi-terrestrial burst launchers with little ability to sustain flight for long distances. Of course, others are long-distance migrants capable of staying aloft for long periods - which one of these is the "bird with full flight capabilities"? Now, I grant that the variation present in the Cretaceous was not the same as what we see in modern birds, but the word usage is still awfully vague.


--Mike H.

Michael Habib
Assistant Professor of Biology
Chatham University
Woodland Road, Pittsburgh PA  15232
Buhl Hall, Room 226A
(443) 280-0181