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Forwarded message:
From:   NewsHound@sjmercury.com (NewsHound)
To:     clayolson@aol.com
Date: 96-11-15 02:40:23 EST

Study: Birds of a Feather Didn't Flock Together with Dinosaurs

Associated Press Writer

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) -- A team of fossil researchers say they have evidence
that disputes the notion that birds evolved from dinosaurs.

[_Archaeopteryx_ not related to modern birds]

The real granddaddies of modern birds may have developed millions of years
before Archaeopteryx, currently the oldest known bird. And they outlived the
dinosaurs, apparently because they were warmblooded, researchers say.

``It was probably the more advanced temperature regulation that allowed this
group ... to survive the cataclysm that caused the extinction of the
dinosaurs,'' said co-author Alan Feduccia, an evolutionary biologist at the
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

[evidence based on _Liaoningornis- which lived 137 to 142 million years ago]

But they say Liaoningornis survived because it had a keeled sternum, or
breastbone, that acted as a pump for the lungs and allowed longer flights.
They believe it, not Archaeopteryx, is the oldest specimen of the line that
developed into modern birds.

The findings drew sharp response from some scientists who said they
contradict the accepted theory that birds evolved from dinosaurs.

[Kevin Padian says authors are probably the last ``holdouts against the
dinosaurian origin of birds.'']

``You can be assured that other scientists will interpret their conclusions
differently,'' Padian said.

[autors are Feduccia, Martin, Lianhai Hou & Zonghe Zhou]

Feduccia, in turn, denigrated an announcement last month that Chinese
paleontologists had found the remains of a feathered dinosaur, which some
scientists said provides perhaps the strongest evidence to date that birds
evolved from dinosaurs.

He called the discovery ``paleological cold fusion,'' referring to the
notorious announcement, later repudiated, that a cheap, plentiful source of
nuclear energy had been found.

[Robert L. Carroll still convinced that birds evolved from dinosaurs]

``There's a very strong fossil-based evidence between particular dinosaurs
and birds,'' Carroll said.

Carroll said Feduccia and Martin cannot support their theory by pointing to a
fossil record of a series of intermediate species -- a sequence that he said
has already has linked some small two-legged dinosaurs and birds.