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Re: quick ?: dinos and birds
> Birds are not the closest extant relatives to dinosaurs; they -are-
> in fact, they are advanced maniraptoran theropods and probably the sister
> group to dromaeosaurids.
> Dinosaurs were at one time suspected to be diphyletic (that is, having
> from two separate ancestors and grouped together without including the
> common ancestors), but recent research has proven that dinosaurs really
> monophyletic after all. Dinosaurs are united by a suite of characters,
> includes specializations in the limbs, three or more sacral vertebrae,
> perforate acetabulum (the lattermost feature having been subsequently
> advanced avians).
Dinosaurs were sometimes thought to have evolved from three or even more
ancestors, I think.
Thye idea that dinosaurs are monophyletic isn't that recent. The first
person who formulated it was Owen (1842). Seeley (1888, I think) convinced
everyone that dinosaurs were diphyletic. Bakker and Galton (1974) first
argued for monophyletic dinos after that. I don't think 1974 research
should be called recent, with all the new discoveries that have occured
> Since birds are dinosaurs, the closest extant relatives must therefore be
> crocodylians, the only living archosaurs aside from birds. As both
> and lepidosaurs (lizards and the like) are reptiles (in the modern sense),
> they are related to some extent, but not closely. Crocodylians are more
> closely related to birds than they are to lepidosaurs!
> Well, I hope that helps clear things up.
> Rachel Clark
> "You will respect my authori-TAY!"