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Is Mononykus a bird?



A new paper by Zhou questions whether or not _Mononykus_ is a bird.  The
abstract reads:

"The avian status of _Mononykus_ is refuted in this paper through a
detailed analysis of its supposed avian characters.  An extensive
comparison between it and fossorial mammals (especially moles), as well as
various bipedal archosaurs, indicates that some of its resemblances to
extant birds are digging adaptions.  Most of the others can be explained
either by its digging adaption or by its obligatory bipedalism.  In
addition, many of its features, as compared with birds (including
_Archaeopteryx_), seem to be too primitive for avian flight and there is no
evidence indicating that the absence of flight in _Mononykus_ was
secondarily lost."

Zhou Zhonghe (1996) Is Mononykus a bird? The Auk, 112(4): 958-963

Chris

cnedin@geology.adelaide.edu.au                  nedin@ediacara.org
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Many say it was a mistake to come down from the trees, some say
the move out of the oceans was a bad idea. Me, I say the stiffening
of the notochord in the Cambrian was where it all went wrong,
it was all downhill from there.