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Re: If Dinosaurs Could Fly



At 07:10 PM 1/19/98 -0400, you wrote:
>There's an important thing to remember in looking at Protarchaeopteryx and
>Sinosauropteryx: the fossils we have are 20-30 million years _later_ than
>Archaeopteryx. It's possible these are ancestral forms that survived that
>long. It's also possible that -- at least in Protarchaeopteryx -- we're
>seeing descendants flighted birds that became secondarily flightless. This
>complicates the question of where the down came from. -- Jeff Hecht

I don't see why people keep on insisting Protarchaeopteryx is a bird.  From
what little I've seen of it (photographs and the original paper), there is
nothing in its skeletal anatomy to suggest it is more closely related to
birds than are dromaeosaurs or Ornitholestes.

People seem to be putting relatively high importance on integumentary
structures whose presence or absence in most coelurosaurian dinosaurs can
neither be confirmed nor denied, as they have not been found in sediments in
which such things can be preserved.

Thomas R. Holtz, Jr.
Vertebrate Paleontologist     Webpage: http://www.geol.umd.edu
Dept. of Geology              Email:th81@umail.umd.edu
University of Maryland        Phone:301-405-4084
College Park, MD  20742       Fax:  301-314-9661