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Re: Wings and cars




The study's results follow evolutionary logic nicely, in only a few generations.

Dimensionless metrics would be nice, as opposed to straight wingspan...


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On Wed, Mar 20, 2013 9:16 AM EDT Clair Ossian wrote:

>Many years ago, back in the mid 1960s, I was a curator at the University of
>Nebraska State Museum at Lincoln, Nebraska. Part of my job was to act as the
>vertebrate paleontology highway salvage person and therefore I drove widely
>across the state, mostly on back roads. At one point the state raised the
>maximum speed limit from 55 to 65 mph, the change to be made effective on a
>particular Monday.
>
>I was driving across the northern edge of Nebraska on that day, and of
>course drove the new speed limit. Over and over and over I begin to hit
>birds which were sweeping across the road in front of my car.
>
>It is a common strategy for birds in that part of the prairie to wait for
>cars to startle inserts into the air, and then pick them off as the car
>drives by. (All of these dead birds were collected, because I had a federal
>license to pick up such animals, which were turned into study skeletons at
>the museum)
>
>I struck an unconscionably large number of birds during the first part of
>that week, but during the following weeks, I seldom hit a bird. The
>frequency was as it was before the speed limit increase.
>
>The Darwinian observation was very clear. I had changed the parameters of
>the game, and those birds that could not learn to time themselves relative
>to the now much faster cars, were selected from the population.
>
>Clair Russell Ossian, PhD
>Professor Emeritus, Geology
>Tarrant County College
>2805 Raintree Drive
>Carrollton, TX 75006
>
>972-416-5211
>clastic@verizon.net
>
>
>
>
>On 3/19/13 9:45 PM, "Anthony Docimo" <keenir@hotmail.com> wrote:
>
>> Date: Tue, 19 Mar 2013 15:19:01 -0700
>> From: d_ohmes@yahoo.com
>> To: dinosaur@usc.edu
>> Subject: Wings and cars
>> 
>> 
>> Study showing an impact on flight morphology of swallows - by a car-driven
>> (pun intended) shift in selection profile -
>> 
>> "Where has all the roadkill gone?", in Current Biology.
>> 
>>  I would venture to guess that unladen swallows are the only ones left.
>> 
>> 
>> 
>>  
>
>