Thursday, January 18, 2007

The evolution of vampires

Coming soon: musings on a possible path to passerine parasitism. Also extinct plasma-quaffing microbats, and maybe pterosaurs (again).

Update: go here, here or here...


Blogger Ishwar said...

IMO, passerine parasitism is mainly due to their altricial nature. Parasites evolved gaping red mouths to take advantage of this.

Of course real life is seldom as simple. Waiting for more musings.

7:48 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Darren,

Not really germane to this post, but I thought you might find this interesting:

I especially like the notion of a "phase change" around 13-14 kg.

Any thoughts on this?

Doug M.

2:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is an oxpecker a parasite or a helpful scavenger- your basic feathered cleaner wrasse?

2:07 AM  
Blogger Ishwar said...

Doug, you might want to read up this paper

It talks about the cost of carnivory and dietary groups based on the weight of the carnivore. Interesting read.

2:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Concerning that article, Doug M., I can't say it makes a heck of a lot of sense to me.

The equation I was taught states that caloric consumption increases with to the three quarters power of mass. Large animals are actually more metabolically efficient than small ones on a calorie per kilogram basis.

Furthermore, there are examples of predators under the 13 kilogram mark that take prey their own size. An interesting example would be falcons, in which the hunting strategies are sexually dimorphic. Male falcons of many species focus on multiple small prey items, while the females tend to gun for items their size and above. I know for darn sure that there's no falcon in the world above 13 kilograms too, else civil aviation wouldn't exist!

-R. A. Wilderson

9:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mr. Naish, I'm waiting for this article, because it is very interesting and important for my Neocene project. Can you also post articles about poisonous birds of N. Guinea? And next, I want to read about "exotic" fossil mammals - uintatheres and Astrapotherium. Tell more about Astr. - I know its habit of life is a mistery according to its skeletal anatomy.

6:19 AM  
Blogger Darren Naish said...

Hi Paul, thanks for your comment. The vampire post will be up some time within the next few days. I wasn't planning to post more about the poisonous birds (as you may know, I already wrote some material about them here), but I may do so. Good news for you is that, coincidentally, there is a planned post titled 'What did a dinoceratan do?'. I also plan to do astrapotheres some time (and looked just yesterday at the skull of one), so stay tuned. Thanks for your interest and your thoughts.

8:19 PM  
Blogger ableiman said...

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Any suggestions would be great!

2:40 PM  

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