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Confuciusornis birds

[I debated this one for a while, but after conferring with another
 list member I've decided to accept it with the caveat that, (I'm
 shamelessly stealing words here -- thanks to the person who wrote
 them :-) by encouraging the purchase of such fossils from
 commercialists, one is thus encouraging illegal commercialist
 activities to continue, which, ultimately, is negative for
 paleontology as a science all around.  I know Jeff isn't doing that
 here (which is why I'm letting it on), but I'm hoping that this post
 won't get people excited to purchase the obects herein described --
 it's my understanding that trafficking in these fossils is being
 carried out in violation of Chinese law.  -- MR ]

   I received the following e-mail.  Everybody knows my liberal views on
collection and sale of fossils; however, I also believe people should
willingly give scientists access to their collection.  Given the important
nature of these fossils, I thought I'd let the professionals know that these
fossils exist and are in the United States for private sale, so that they
could track down the current or ultimate owners to ask to study them, or
perhaps have their museums buy them.

>To: jpoling@dinosauria.com
>Date: Sun, 29 Sep 1996 17:27:43 -0600
>Subject: Confuciusornis birds
>X-URL: http://www.dinosauria.com/jdp/jdp.htm#archie
>Recently a small handful of extremely rare lower Cretaceous or possibly 
>upper Jurassic fossilized birds have been discovered.  These 139 million 
>year old birds  have been brought to America from the Liaoning Province 
>of China.  These  new birds have been named Confuciusornis and are 
>archaeraptors.    They  morphologically resemble Archaeopteryx and 
>Hesperonis.  The claws and head are very similar to terrestrial raptors. 
> They  have 3 wing claws probably used for climbing trees.  The wings 
>(complete with feather impressions inlaid in the matrix) were used for 
>gliding and due to the hollow bones may have been one of the first to 
>achieve extended flight.  These birds lived near water and had teeth 
>that were probably used to eat insects and small fish.  They are thought 
>to be part of the link between dinosaurs and modern day birds and may be 
>directly related to Archaeopteryx.  At the recent Denver Gem & Mineral 
>Show these and other less rare birds were among the fastest and best 
>deals of the show.  The fossils are prepared and lie in the original 
>matrix and are ready for presentation or resale.
>If interested in more information contact me quick, there are less then 
>a dozen in existence and are highly sought after.
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