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I just received the paper describing _Yangdangornis longicaudus_, the new
long-tailed bird from China. On p.439 the authors (Cai and Zhao) state
"..the new bird has been examined by many scholars at home and abroad. Some
of them consider that it is a small theropod dinosaur."
No kidding. The bird is not really all that bird-like. Most of the lower
forelimbs (apart from two digits of one hand) are missing, so it's hard to
tell how long they were. The authors say the ulna is shorter than the
femur, although both ulnae are missing theit distal portions. Alas, only
the ventral side of the skull is preserved. The tail is indeed very long -
305mm, around half the total body length - and no sign at all of any fusion.
Cai and Zhao suggest that _Yangdangornis_ had "become a primitive bird
adapted to ground dwelling", retaining its long tail but its forelimbs were
subject to "degeneration". Not a lot is discussed regarding its
phylogenetic position in the Aves, although the Sauriurae vs Ornithurae
dichotomy is wheeled out (the authors put _Yangdangornis_ in the former).
The specimen was found associated with _Zhejiangopterus_. The stratum is of
early Late Cretaceous age (81.5 Ma BP).
That's all for now. I'll send a follow-up post with more info on anatomy
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