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Re: Origin of Birds



At 07:20 PM 12/3/97 -0800, Toby White wrote:
>I've seen a great deal in the last few weeks on the Feduccia and Jones 
>papers attacking the Maniraptoran (or other dinosaur) origin of birds.  
>Assume for a moment they're correct (unlikely as it may be).  What are 
>the alternatives?  Are there any other candidate lineages that make any 
>sense?  

There is nothing I'd like better from Feduccia & company than an explicit,
testable phylogenetic hypothesis.  Feduccia seems to support some relation
with some of the highly derived Triassic diapsids of uncertain affinity (the
probably archosauromorph arboreal drepanosaurs, for example), but has never
presented this explicitly (as a cladogram, a phylogram, a good old-fashioned
bubble family tree, etc.).  Martin & others have once considered basal
crocodilomorphs (sphenosuchians) as ancestral to birds: I don't know what
their current take on the subject is.

(Feduccia and Martin have both published on the fact that they "know"
cladistic analytical methodology MUST be wrong, because it keeps on putting
birds within the coelurosaur dinosaurs, even when different peoples
different data sets are used...)

Thomas R. Holtz, Jr.
Vertebrate Paleontologist     Webpage: http://www.geol.umd.edu
Dept. of Geology              Email:th81@umail.umd.edu
University of Maryland        Phone:301-405-4084
College Park, MD  20742       Fax:  301-314-9661