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Re: Microraptor also ate fish
> I doubt if we would find taxa that are arboreal (sensu
> stricto) that
> lack arboreal characters.
This may be the crucial point.
Arboreality (cursoriality, fossoriality...) may not be *provable* from the
But it can be falsified.
And Microraptor (or Archie for that matter), while exapted for arboreality,
were not adapted to it. Their "para-arboreal" (arboreal sensu lato) traits
worked as well or better with a mainly cursorial lifestyle that could utilize
slight elevations (a meter or so above the surrounding terrain) to get the
critters above ground-effect heigth, vastly increasing the distance traveled
Confuciusornis seems to me a more intriguing case.
Yet we must not forget that what was an arboreal adaptation in the Aptian may
not be one today. The arboreal niche was still developing; it was still new
enough to be almost devoid of competitors.
To argue that something lived in trees is not necesarily very informative by
itself; "What trees? and what else lived up there?" may be more interesting to
ask, particularly when dealing with exaptations or otherwise incipient traits.
Compare: Late Carboniferous temnospondyls were not very convincing as
(semi)terrestrial apex predators by today's standards. But if you take the
whole ecosystem into account, quite a lot of them seem to have been just that.