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birds or theropods



Why is it, that if a late Jurassic partial skeleton that looks like it 
is either a bird or theropod, 100 % of the time put into theropods? 

For instance _Palaeopteryx thomsoni_ JENSEN, 1981, is considered to be
a Manoraptorian theropod, but also a possible Archaeopterygid. Why is
it so hard to consider it a bird? There is some more small skeletal
elements from Dry Mesa Quarry that could also be a bird.

If there are Non-avian Manoraptorian theropods, what are the Avian 
Manoraptorian theropods? Birds?

Why not go out an a limb and call Dromaeosauridae Avian Manoraptorian
theropods? There are as many similarities between _Archaeopteryx_ and
Dromaeosaurids IMHO as there are between Archaeopteryx and
_Confuciusornis_.  Also, why not make Mononykus and Oviraptorids Avian
Monoraptorian Theropods?

To me, we have to stop thinking of birds as birds are today, and think 
of birds as what they were. Until then George's BCF theory will not be 
accepted. I've talked to Witmore, Chiappe, and Olson, about that and 
they see my point. 

I also talked to Witmore about _Protoavis_ and asked what he thought,
he told me that even if there is only one bone that is avian, then
there was a bird in the Late Triassic. What is the problem with this?
Hou, Martin etc NOW say _Archaeopteryx_ isn't the first bird, but must
have evolved from an earlier bird ancestor, no kidding.

There is a preservational bias and a collecting bias in collecting
small and micro fossils. There were hundreds of small theropods and
birds, and for that matter other small dinosaurs, diapsids etc, there
has to be, there are two many ecological niches that can't be
accounted for in the fossil recorded. There are about 150
Archaeopteryx sp teeth known from the Late Jurassic of Portugal. There
is a theropod that really looks Archaeopteryian from the Late
Cretaceous of Madagascar (and a larger pelivs from Argentina that
looks really similar to the Madagascar specimen),which, IMHO will
change things.

I just bought 1 copy of The Puzzle of the Dinosaur-bird, the story of
Archaeopteryx by Miriam Schlein and illustrated by Mark Hallet. Mark
paints a Composognathus with feathers (good timing with the new
Chinese feathered dinosaur), and Dromaeosaurus and Oviraptor with
feathers, (ala Greg Paul), I use to not agree with this, but am now
changing my mind and beginning to think Greg is right after all.

 This is a great time for Paleontology.

Tracy