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Re: Sci. Am. - present. [long]

>As an Amateurid (hopefully Gottaclueidae), this timing issue 
>is the one thing that bothers me about the birds from dinosaurs 
>hypothesis. However, this type of response from the BFD camp 
>bothers me even more. It reminds me of arguments by the Aquadic 
>Ape enthusiasts on sci.archology, "We must be right because 
>there are no fossils to prove us wrong." Why not just admit that 
>this is a problem and that you are working to resolve it?
>Andrew Robinson

Actually, I am not sure why it is any more of a problem than (say) the
absence (as far as I am aware) of undoubted monotreme fossils from the
Mesozoic is for the view that these creatures represent an earlier offshoot
of the mammal stock than marsupials and placentals.  For one thing, how
good is the fossil record generally for the upper Triassic / lower Jurassic
when protobirds presumably existed?  Compare (for example) the preservation
of Protavis (whatever that is) with that of Archaeopteryx or the new
Chinese finds.  Are there any comparable beds to the Solnhofen in terms of
preservational quality for these critical periods?  If not, this could be a
reason why bird ancestors have yet to be found.
Ronald I. Orenstein                           Phone: (905) 820-7886
International Wildlife Coalition              Fax/Modem: (905) 569-0116
1825 Shady Creek Court                 
Mississauga, Ontario, Canada L5L 3W2          mailto:ornstn@inforamp.net