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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
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
comahuensis," which means "half bird from northwest Patagonia" in the
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
closely resemble _Archaeopteryx_, the first true bird.
Novas said that he does not know if this dinosaur had feathers, but he
emphatic in saying that it did not fly and it was not a bird. He also
that it was clearly not on the direct evolutionary path to birds,
lived in the mid-Cretaceous 90 million years ago, while true birds date
at least 145 million years. Novas thinks this animal lies on an
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.