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Confuciusornis



[ I debated whether or not to forward this message -- most of it's
  content was covered by Paul Davis' message that immediately preceded
  it.  It also comes close to the danger zone of private ownership.
  However, upon re-reading it I've decided it looks new enough and
  safe enough to get by.  As always, you know where to complain.  --
  MR]

I saw a couple of messages about this Chinese bird,
saw a half-dozen of them ($4,000 each) at the Denver show,
and had an article about this in Dinosaur Discoveries.
So I thought I'd mention a couple of things.

I picked up a Reuters newswire story several months ago
noting that 'over one hundred' of these things had
been found. [So much for the claim in a catalog I got
today saying they were "more rare than a complete T-rex!"]
Apparently those Chinese entrepeneurs who made a forture on
eggs are now doing the same thing on birds. (If they find
T-rex in China, Black Hills Institute could go out of
business when dozens of T-rexes flood the US market.)

They are more recent than Archy by a dozen million years.

They are similar to Archy in most respects except two:

1. they have no teeth, and are NOT ancestral to modern birds
since there is a pretty clear lineage from toothed birds
found 20-30 million years later. (I am grateful to my science
advisor, that Tim Holtz fellow, or Tom maybe, for this observation
in DD#1.)

2. They have feathers around their legs, non-flying contour
feathers. These are considered pretty good proof that
this thing was warm-blooded. Doesn't prove that Archy or T-rex
was warm blooded, but does show how far back we can find this trait.

My apologies if this duplicates things already said, I haven't
been able to read every single message of the last couple of weeks.