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Re: Scanning bird brains for the evolution of flight
My *guess* would be that they co-evolved, *but* the neural adaptation lagged
the musculoskeletal adaptations.
It seems to me that a feedback loop causing neural adaptation wouldn't start
until the wings were there and in use for flying (even if just gliding/ridge
soaring). I would think what tetanurans had going on in their heads was "good
enough" for some clumsy flight, much like the human brain is good enough for 3
axis aircraft control, and with enough practice, VTOL flight as well... in the
60's (and 70's?) we were getting along just fine in our aircraft before "fly by
wire" systems really took effect and planes came out that were unflyable for
humans without computer assistance.
Given the much more recent adaptation of bats to flight, it might be a good
analogy to compare the brains of bats to their closest relatives/ analogs to
their presumed ancestral state.
It might also be useful to look at the brains of various gliding animals with
non gliding analogs (tree squirrels, flying snakes, etc), to help establish a
baseline for what amount of aerial capabilities can be achieved without
noticeable changes in the brain, or to try and establish potential lag times.
--- On Mon, 1/3/11, GUY LEAHY <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
> From: GUY LEAHY <email@example.com>
> Subject: Scanning bird brains for the evolution of flight
> To: "Dinosaur Mailing List" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
> Date: Monday, January 3, 2011, 11:40 AM
> Sounds like this may have potential for determining when
> birds became proficient at flight, but I'm wondering
> whether the musculoskeletal modifications for flight
> preceeded the neural adaptations...
> Guy Leahy