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Unenlagia Article (long)



I saw this article in the Virginia Pilot and thought I'd pass it on to the list.

<Fossils with winglike forearms suggest a Patagonian lizard shared a common 
dinosaur ancestor with modern birds.
Twenty fossil bones uncovered in an ancient riverbed in Argentina are from a 90 
million-year-old flightless animal with shoulders and forearms that could flap 
up and down like the wings of modern birds, paleontologists announced Tuesday.  
Fernando Novas of the Museum of Natural History in Buenos Aires said the bones 
are from "the most birdlike dinosaur ever recovered".
In fact, Novas said at a news conference, "Birds are living dinosaurs."
Novas said the fossils, discovered last year, represent a new animal.  He is 
calling it Unenlagia comahuensis, which means "half bird from northwest 
Patagonia" in the language of the Mapuche Indians who lived nearby.
A report on the new fossil was published Thursday in the journal Nature. 
The theory that birds evolved from dinosaurs has spawned heated debate for 
years among paleontologists.  The transition from dinosaurs to birds required 
great changes in bone structure and body shape, as well as the evolution of 
flight.
Novas said the new animal was not a direct ancestor of modern birds, but that 
birds and Unenlagia shared the same dinosaur ancestor.  He (Novas) said that 
"Unenlagia lived on a dead-end twig of the evolutionary branch that led 
eventually to modern birds."
Novas said the Patagonian fossils are of an animal that held its forearms 
against its body, like a bird folding its wings.  He said the shoulder is 
angled to the side, unlike the backward-facing shoulders of other dinosaurs.  
This would allow the animal to move its arm with a powerful "upstroke", such as 
that used by birds to take off and soar.>

A picture comparing the arm positions of Unenlagia and Archaeopteryx was 
included with the article.  They are very similar.

Jeremy Frost

"This sentence no verb."