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>I recently read some descriptions of protoavis that sought to prove that
>birds and dinosaurs are related but not ancestral. Among other things it
Feduccia's latest book?
>mentioned the arangement of the toes and indicated that there were
>differences between bird and dino feet. I don't have the book anymore (I
>was browsing at Barnes and Noble) so I can't quote specifics yet. It also
>indicated that the bones were already hollow, and it had a keeled sternum
Dr. Chatterjee's latest book includes detailed illustrations of
_Protoavis_. He believes that this animal is a bird more advanced than
_Archaeopteryx_, is a descendant of the most recent common ancestor of
archaey and modern birds, and is a dinosaur. 'Nuff said.
>The date they gave for protoavis was approx. the same time as
>archeopteryx so they postulated that archeopteryx had been an
>evolutionary dead end (or at least a parallel line that failed to
Heck no. _Protoavis_ is from the Dockum Group of West Texas, Carnian
ofr Norian of the Late Triassic. _Archaeopteryx_ is from the ?Tithonian of
the Late Jurassic. No dates handy, but we are talking some serious spread.
>It had been my understanding that protoavis was either a hoax or the
>evidence was inconclusive (or misinterpreted).
Some say that. Some don't.
It is NOT a hoax. Dr. Chatterjee is a respected scientist, with many
years of experience, and absolutely no reason to perpetaute a hoax. His data
have been misinterpreted by some scientists who are grasping at straws
trying to deny the preponderance evidence which supports the dinosaur-bird
connection. Dr. Chatterjee's interpretation of the specimen may or may not
be accurate, but the rampant second-guessing of his judgement that has gone
on, in some cases by people who may not have seen the fully prepared
material, has got to stop.
>Am I missing something? What is the current status of protoavis?
To quote Tom Holtz, it is dead.
>Fact or Fallacy?
Read the book. :)
>Why are some paleontologists so affraid of the possibility that
>dinos and birds aren't ancestral, but related. (Bakker is a good
Some may or may not be "afraid", as you say. However, the plain fact
is that the evidence does not support that conclusion, and proponents of
that view must blatantly ignore the evidence to reach that conclusion.
Scientists who ignore evidence may scare other scientists.
Jonathan R. Wagner, Dept. of Geosciences, TTU, Lubbock, TX 79409-1053
"There's a fine line between stupid and clever." -- Spinal Tap