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Birds Came First question.
Birds are, with the exception of one (or two?) megapode species, united by
the following characteristics: intensive parental care during incubation;
nest siting in the open air (where parental care is necessitated--unlike
Crocs, while they do defend the nest, do not help the eggs in any other
way after oviposition. This style is of lay-'em-and-leave-'em is more
typical of basal reptiles.
Non-avian dinosaurs seem to demonstrate transitional behaviors and
thermal/O2 requirements. That is, "primitive" dinos buried their eggs,
"advanced" Troodontids (for example) cared for their eggs.
My question for Dinogeorge (or anyone else) is how do you explain an early
evolution of birds without also attributing parental care and above-ground
oviposition to them, and all that entails regarding growth rates etc.?