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Re: Sam Welles and the history of an idea
On another note, here's something I found written in a high school
biology textbook (quoted verbatim):
"Most scientists agree that birds evolved from a group of reptiles
called thecodonts. The skeletons of birds and thecodonts are similar."
Publication date: *1998*, by Glencoe/McGraw-Hill. Biology: the Dynamics
of Life. Beside it is an outdated drawing of Euparkeria or something
This book also shows Plateosaurus coexisting with Coelophysis, and two
Deinonychus preying on a Pachycephalosaurus while a Sinornis watches.
To their credit, later in the book they say that "some scientists think
today's birds are related to an evolutionary line of dinosaurs that did
not go extinct."
Needless to say, even textbooks today are not always getting it right.
>I suspect many of you will be surprised (since I was) to find that the
following paragraph was written in 1959:
Most paleontologists believed then as they do now, that birds
descended from some line of small, light dinosaurs. These dinosaurs
might have found it convenient to live in the trees. (Why not?
There are tree lizards, tree toads and tree snakes.) It is thought
that they learned to glide a little in jumping from branch to
branch. In time they could have learned to fly from tree to tree.
At the same time, their scales may have become lighter, gradually
fraying around the edges and finally developing into feathers. No
one knows whether it happened that way. That is simply the most
reasonable explanation suggested so far.
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