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Re: Microraptor was a competent glider (but nothing to write home about)



On Fri, Sep 20th, 2013 at 12:17 PM, Tim Williams <tijawi@gmail.com> wrote:

> I like the fact that Dyke et al. do not advance _Microraptor_ as fully
> arboreal - more as a terrestrial predator that opportunistically
> climbed trees as part of a versatile hunting strategy.  One intriguing
> suggestion (raised in this study) is that this is how _Microraptor_
> caught fish - by gliding down from a tree into a lake.  (The same
> might have been true for _Confuciusornis_, also known to have fed on
> fish, and interpreted by some studies to have had very weak, if any,
> powered flight abilities).  However, it's unclear how _Microraptor_
> would have actually seized the fish at the end of the glide -
> presumably with the jaws, because all four limbs would still be in
> aerial mode.

I'd have throught gliding wouldn't offer the necessary maneuverability to 
adjust for a moving fish. 
I'd imagine the low approach speed would give fish more opportunity to see the 
predator coming as 
well.

Gliding across water barriers that you wouldn't want to swim across (due to the 
presence of crocs, 
labyrinthodonts, big predatory fish, pliosaurs, etc) would certainly be useful. 
It'd enable something 
the size of Microraptor to reach areas that similar sized terrestrial 
competitors couldn't (without 
risking being eaten). They'd only have to worry about being taken by a 
pterosaur.

-- 
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Dann Pigdon
Spatial Data Analyst               Australian Dinosaurs
Melbourne, Australia               http://home.alphalink.com.au/~dannj
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