[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index][Subject Index][Author Index]

New birdlike theropod



This is probably not news to some of those here <g>, but it was
definitely news to me:

A report in this week's issue of the journal NATURE describes the
partial 
fossil remains of the most birdlike dinosaur ever found.

Argentinian paleontologist Fernando Novas announced his find at a press 
conference today.   The new dinosaur has been tentatively named
"Unenlagia 
comahuensis," which means "half bird from northwest Patagonia" in the
language
of a local Amerind tribe.  It's a theropod about the size of an ostrich: 
1.2 meters tall at the hips, 2.3 meters long including the tail.  The 
recovered parts are fragmentary, but enough was found to show that this 
animal had a sideward-angled shoulder joint and arm construction, unlike 
other known dinosaurs but very much like true birds, permitting the 
flapping motion which birds use for flight.  In addition, the legs and
pelvis 
closely resemble _Archaeopteryx_, the first true bird.

Novas said that he does not know if this dinosaur had feathers, but he
was 
emphatic in saying that it did not fly and it was not a bird.  He also
said 
that it was clearly not on the direct evolutionary path to birds,
because it 
lived in the mid-Cretaceous 90 million years ago, while true birds date
back 
at least 145 million years.  Novas thinks this animal lies on an
offshoot 
of the path that led to birds.  

The bones were found in a Cretaceous sandstone deposit in northwestern 
Patagonia.  The newswire articles I have don't give an exact location.

-- JSW