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Re: Protoavis

In a message dated 97-10-16 03:19:58 EDT, martz@holly.ColoState.EDU writes:

<< A common, and perhaps most prevalent idea, is that maniraptorians
 (the REALLY bird-like theropods) WERE present in the Jurassic; we just
 haven't found the fossils yet.  >>

Not only were they present, they were probably small and could fly after a
fashion. I saw the Madagascar "bird" specimen at the Field Museum, and it is
nothing more nor less than a small, flying dromaeosaurid. The pelvis, tail,
hindlimbs, and feet with killer claw are virtually indistinguishable from
those of _Deinonychus_ except for being much, much smaller. (Like raven
size.) The arms are elongate and slender and seem adapted for some kind of
flight. The time period is much later than Late Jurassic, but we all know
that Madagascar is a classic haven for living fossils, right? It's a
>terrific< find. Years ago Greg Paul predicted something like this would
eventually be discovered.

The big problem now is to establish the polarity of the evolution of flight.
I think the available evidence as well as common sense indicates that
theropod flight evolved first, slowly and character by character, during the
Late Triassic and Early Jurassic, and that the relatively large Cretaceous
dromaeosaurids (as well as most other theropods) were secondarily flightless.
Others continue to disagree.