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Re: Origin of Birds-arboreal biped



>As I have stated repreatedly on this list, small, feathered, arboreal
>theropods, or dino-birds, are by far the likeliest common ancestors of modern
>birds and large, cursorial theropods.
     >Dinogeorge


     The upper Triassic archosaur Scleromochlus taylori had been 
suggested as one such beast by Von Huene  in 1914.*  He apparently was 
exploring the possibility of it being a pterosaur ancestor, but it seems 
to me that it would "work better" as a bird/dinosaur type as is being 
discussed.  I've rearranged the published skeleton(from Wellnhofer's 
pterosaur book) and attempted to restore it as an arboreal, 
"protofeathered," obligate biped, with its small forelimbs free to help 
it balance itself as it jumped and clambered about in branches.  The 
recent findings of possible primitive feathers are seeming to make this 
more and more plausible.  It would seem to fill the bill in many ways, 
and some form like this does seem to me to be the most likely candidate 
for a "proto-bird."  I realize that this particular animal was not 
well-preserved, but is there anything known for certain about it that 
would rule this out?  It does seem to be a perfectly good, tiny archosaur 
in the right time slot.

I've been "lurking" on the list for a while now and have been holding 
back these comments, hoping to get my web site up and running in order to 
be able to share my visual ruminations.  With this subject coming up 
again like this I just couldn't wait, but hopefully this will happen in 
the not-too-distant-future.

By the way, does anybody know of an English translation of von Huene"s 
1914 publication with the Scleromochlus info?

     Thanks, 
          Gary Bloomfield


*Wellnhofer, Enyclopedia of Pterosaurs, 1991

Gary Bloomfield, paleobirder
Bloomfield Studio
gab@humboldt1.com