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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 Beside it is an outdated drawing of Euparkeria or something 
like that.

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.

Andy Farke

>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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