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Re: Microraptor ate birds



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From: Robert Schenck <schenck.rob@gmail.com>
>It's definitely intriguing, and IF microraptor et al were arboreal, it is what 
>we'd
expect. 

But is it? How many modern avivores actually hunt in the trees? A few snakes I 
can think of... The monkey-killing harpy eagle takes monkeys and sloths from 
branches (take that stupid monkey!). Falcons are avivores, but they strike in 
the air, or from the air to the
 ground; Accipitrids tend to catch their prey by surprise... on the 
ground. Are there many mammalian predators that actively hunt in trees? 
Chimps will take monkeys in the trees... but it's really quite 
exceptional. Generally hunting in trees is frought with problems: branches get 
in the way; pursuit is exceptionally awkward. Plus, what does microraptor do 
once it has caught it's prey? What is the method of dispatch in a tree? Do 
modern animals kill prey in trees? The hypothesis is not well-thought out, and 
not based on any modern comparisons (hence, I predict it will be published in 
Nature, or ProcB).

>I mean, this is /behaviour/ damnit, always great when any of that can
be elucidated, even if it doesn't have 100% support.

It's not behaviour: it's diet. For all we know, the Microraptor might have 
found a dead bird on the ground.


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Denver Fowler
df9465@yahoo.co.uk
http://www.denverfowler.com
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