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Re: Ancestors and descendants (story for Nick)

Ken Kinman wrote,

>     Let's take it back to the lab and do a full autopsy.  With all these
>derived features, we can hardly call this a dinosaur even if it does share
>some features with them.  This bird beastie has been doing some serious
>evolving.  I can hardly wait to dissect the internal organs too.  This
>is almost as weird as that hairy mammal thing we found last week---you
>the one with the three shrunken jaw bones shoved up into it ears, and you
>decided to call it a rodent.

     Lets dissect out a Diplodocus while we're at it.  Compare the sauropod
and a sparrow to Eoraptor or even Marasuchus, those little, bipedal
carnivorous runners around the base of the dinosaur family tree.  Just
looking at it superficially, the sauropod has beome enormous, quadrupedal,
developed an extremely long neck, relocated its nostrils to a position
dorsal to its eyes, and become herbivorous.  If we want to compare them
internally, consider what the size increase and lifestyle and diet change
might have done to the internal organs.  If we want to emphasize changes to
the forelimb anatomy, Diplodocus has also lost most of its front claws, and
made serious changes to the whole limb as a whole; look at the semi-circular
arrangement of the metatarsals, and the massive, weight bearing design of
the leg.  Is the weight-bearing front foot of a Diplodocus any less
different from the clawed theropod hand then the flying forelimb of a bird?
Birds might be impressively diverse and specialized fliers, but I would
hesistate to say they are really any more derived from the little meat
eating runner design then sauropods or Ornithischians.

LN Jeff

You have to study a great deal to know a little.
-Baron de Montesquieu

They may forget what you said, but they will never forget the way you made
them feel.
-Carl W. Buehner
Jeffrey W. Martz
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Lubbock, TX
(806) 747-7910