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The dino-bird connection revisited



These questions combine cladistics and BADD/BCF (oh no!).

Among archosaurs, did birds originate the kinetic skull (the front of the 
skull can be bent upward)?

Does _Protoavis_ really have a kinetic skull?  (Chatterjee says yes.  Is 
that a part of his analysis that is in question?)

Does _Archeopteryx_ have a kinetic skull?  (I think not--yes?)

If _Protoavis_ did, and _Archeopteryx_ did not, might that suggest that 
_Archeopteryx_ is a flying theropod rather than a flying bird?  That 
would surely explain why _Archeopteryx_ plots out very close to 
theropods.

What is a bird, really?  Can skeletal features provide a 
characterization, since feathers normally won't be preserved?  I mean 
without assuming a particular phylogeny first, since I'm not sure we know 
whether BCF or BADD.
Of course, if we assume that _Archeopteryx_ is a bird, that really stacks 
the deck in favor of maniraptoran ancestors for birds.  What should I 
know that would show me why the claim of theropod ancestry for birds is 
not this transparently circular?

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Norman R. King                                       tel:  (812) 464-1794
Department of Geosciences                            fax:  (812) 464-1960
University of Southern Indiana
8600 University Blvd.
Evansville, IN 47712                      e-mail:  nking.ucs@smtp.usi.edu