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Re: "Feathery fossil shows birds aren't dinosaurs"



Larry Dunn wrote:

How do these no-dino people explain the rather
striking similarity between bird skeletons and those
of certain small theropods?  Surely not in BCF terms?

As far as I understand, they explain the similarities between dinosaurs and birds as evolutionary convergence. Maybe they specify what the dinosaurs and birds would be converging to in some article I am unaware of, but usually its just argued as homoplasy without the details.


I will be interested to see this article and pics (when I was visiting Kansas last year, Larry Martin was dropping hints that this specimen might change things). Even if feathers and furculae developed in Longisquama, there are many other possibilities besides birds are not dinosaurs, including George's BCF, as well as the possibility that feathers and furculae developed several times in various ways in archosaurs and that dinosaurs hit on something that allowed them to become airborne (back to functional morphology, I'm afraid: decoupling of the hindlimb from the forelimbs, and hindlimbs from tails, ala Gatesy).

I don't think it is appropriate in any of this debate to call the dino/bird theory a "fantasy" as Fedduccia does. There is no reason to use such rhetoric, even if one vehemently disagrees with the majority. Scientific progress is made through the weight of evidence, not through a vote for popularity or ad hominem attacks. The dino/bird theory could be invalidated, no doubt, but the evidence has to stand up to the test. Who said what to who and who was insulted does little to inform us about the evidence for or against dino/bird evolution. What will matter is what the Longisquama specimen has to tell us about archosaurs and bird origins.

Matt Bonnan
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