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Jonathon Woolf wrote:
>For Late Jurassic and earlier fossils, you cannot assume you >have a bird
based only on skeletal characteristics. >Remember, if it didn't have
feathers _Archaeopteryx_ would >be classified as just a small, odd theropod.
Only the feathers >mark it definitively as a bird.
I'm really trying to avoid inflammatory words, but the above position is
simply unreasonable. The criteria for accepting pre-Jurassic taxa as avian is
not (and cannot) be any different than the criteria for accepting
post-Jurassic taxa as avian. It would be an unreasonable position even if we
didn't suspect that some non-avian archosaurs possessed feathers. This just
isn't the way that comparative anatomy works.
Caitlin R, Kiernan