Thursday, 8 September 2016

Flying Beasts And Flightless Birds

In Poul Anderson's History of Technic Civilization:

Aycharaych the Chereionite has a crest of feathers and clawed toes and is probably descended from flightless birds;

Diomedeans and Ythrians are intelligent flying species but not birds;

in the latter two cases, it is necessary to explain how a body heavy enough for intelligence is capable of flight.

On Earth, might large flightless birds like moas have become intelligent if not for competition from mammals? Moas lacked forelimbs freed for manipulation. However, birds are related to dinosaurs and raptors did have forelimbs not used for locomotion so maybe intelligent reptiles were more likely than intelligent birds?

Although I cannot think of an equivalent of SM Stirling's moas in Poul Anderson's works, HG Wells wrote a nightmarish short story called "Aepyornis Island."

6 comments:

  1. Kaor, Paul!

    Strictly speaking, flying animals which had evolved on other planets would not be BIRDS, because they would not have descended from Terrestrial reptiles. But I forget the word Anderson sometimes used, I think, denoting "birdlike" flying animals.

    Sean

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    1. Kaor, Paul!

      Ornithoids? I like it! And it might have been used by PA. But, I can't quite recall!

      Sean

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  2. Paul and Sean:
    Ramri of Monwaing in *After Doomsday* is consistently described as "avian," and "The Ballad of Brandobar" termed him (or another of his people) as "a wingless bird."

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    1. David,
      You are so right. one I missed.
      Paul.

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    2. Hi, David!

      I've forgotten how PA sometimes used "avian" or "wingless bird." But I'm ALMOST sure PA used different, less "Terrestrial" terms in works later than AFTER DOOMSDAY.

      Sean

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