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Any new developments re: the following?
- Loren Coleman
Mar 18, 2000 - 05:28 AM
Scientists Unveil Bird-Like Dinosaur Skeleton: Bambiraptor
By Terry Spencer
Associated Press Writer
DANIA BEACH, Fla. (AP) - Researchers have unveiled what may be the most
convincing evolutionary link yet between dinosaurs and birds: a 75
million-year-old creature with a roadrunner's body, arms that resembled
clawed wings and hair-like feathers.
They call it Bambiraptor feinbergi.
The first recovered skeleton of the species was shown Thursday by the
Florida Institute of Paleontology. It is not clear whether the creature
could fly, but experts said that anatomically it is the most bird-like
dinosaur yet discovered. They said the finding advances the increasingly
popular theory that birds evolved from dinosaurs.
Bambiraptor's skeleton was discovered in 1994 by 14-year-old Wes Linster,
who was hunting for fossils near Glacier National Park in northern Montana.
More than 95 percent of the warm-blooded carnivore's bones were recovered.
Scientists are usually ecstatic to recover 30 percent of a dinosaur's
"This species is truly a dinosaur Rosetta stone," said Martin Shugar, the
institute's director, referring to the tablet found 200 years ago that
helped archaeologists decipher Egyptian hieroglyphics.
The skeleton will be exhibited at the Graves Museum of Archaeology & Natural
History, where the institute is based. Shugar persuaded Michael Feinberg, a
Hollywood, Fla., investor and philanthropist, to buy the specimen for an
undisclosed price and lend it to the museum.
Linster christened the specimen bambiraptor because it's small like Bambi.
The feinbergi was added later to honor Feinberg.
John Ostrum, a Yale University professor and one of the world's leading
paleontologists, examined the skeleton and likened it to the Mona Lisa. "I
have never seen any specimen as complete as that and I have collected all
over the world," he said.
Ostrum said bambiraptor has several traits usually found in birds, such as a
wishbone instead of a full breastbone and avian-like arm bones.
About 3 feet long and weighing 7 pounds, bambiraptor lived in a sparsely
forested area in what is now Montana at a time when the Rocky Mountains were
just beginning to rise, said David A. Burnham, a University of Kansas
paleontologist who assembled the skeleton.
It would have preyed on small mammals and reptiles, using its teeth, sharp
talons and whip-like 18-inch tail to subdue its prey, said Burnham and Kraig
Dertsler, a University of New Orleans professor who helped study it.
It was fast, had a keen sense of smell and the structure of its arms and its
feathers may have allowed it to fly, although more study must be done before
that can be concluded, Burnham and Dertsler said.
On the Net: Fossilwork Laboratories: http://www.bambiraptor.com