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Confuciusornis



That paper I mentioned earlier today was not soley authored by Feduccia,
infact he is the fourth author (My memory 'aint what it used to be). The
ref. is: 

Martin, L. D., Zhou, Z., Hou, L., Fedduccia, A. 1988. Confuciusornis
sanctus compared to Archaeopteryx lithographica. Naturwissenschaften
85(6), 286-289.

They actually go further than suggesting that the pneumatic foramen in the
humerus is due to accidental breakage,they say that it is result of
deliberate carving by local preparators, This sort of jiggery-pokery is
not unknown when non-scientists work rich deposits for saleable fossils.
Are they correct? I don't know, I've never even seen a good quality large
photograph of C. sanctus, much less an actual specimen. However the
deliberate artifact theory does explain a) the variation in the sample b)
the homoplasy created by such a basal bird possessing a well developed
pneumatic foramen in its humerus (note that this feature is homoplastic no
matter what theory of bird origins you subscribe to, so we can't blame the
accusation on Martin et al's desire to make C. sanctus less dinosaur
like).

cheers

Adam Yates