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Re: Confuciusornis and other feathered beasts
<<I note that "The Encyclopedia of Dinosaurs" refers to Confuciusornis as a
'toothless bird'. In other places, I read that it is a feathered dinosaur
(I assume this means non-avian dinosaur). Could someone tell me if
Confuciusornis (as well as Caudipteryx and Protoarchaeopteryx) are
considered "non-avian feathered dinosaurs" by dinosaur paleontologists.
I'm assuming Sinosauropteryx is unequivocally a non-avian dinosaur with some
kind of feathers. Right?>>
If your references refer to _Confuciusornis_ as a feathered *non*-avian
dinosaur they are wrong. It is redundant of course to call _C._ a feathered
avian dinosaur. _C._ and kin are very basal birds, not far off from
_Caudipteryx_ was described as the closest sister-group to birds themselves,
but now recent works suggest that it is a oviraptorosaurian related to
_Oviraptor_ and other things along those lines.
_Protarchaeopteryx_ (note spelling) was described as the sister-group to
dromaeosaurids (I believe specifically velociraptorines, I don't have the
paper handy) and this has changed greatly.
_Sinosauropteryx_ is unequivocally a non-avian dinosaurs related to
_Compsognathus_. As for its feathers...uh... just say that they are
regardless of what some may say (I myself hesitate to call them feathers
just now although I do not buy the collagen fiber interpretation for a
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