<I know of nothing in Chiappe et al. which conflicts with recent work, when that work is correct.>
Doesn't that mean when it agrees with Chiappe et al.? Small point, but I wanted to point out that you did describe a perfect circle.
For example, Hou et al. (1999) are cited only to say that Chiappe et al. were “unable to examine the recently described Confuciusornis dui. Yet, nowhere is it mentioned that the main importance of this specimen is that it preserves the horny rhamphotheca."
...Olson's example is not valid, as the main importance of C. dui was to establish confuciusornithids had a complete diapsid temporal arrangement.
Seems like a disagreement about 'the main importance' of a find is pretty subjective?
Anyway, more significantly, I was intrigued by the statement that:
<I would suggest that the reason Confuciusornis is the most abundant bird in the deposit is because flocks of them were flying over the lake when disaster struck. There can be little doubt that the principal means of locomotion of Confuciusornis was flight. This is a most important fact because it was flying with a primitive, fused scapulocoracoid without an enlarged acrocoracoid process, it was flying without a keeled sternum, it was flying without an alula, and it apparently was flying without a fully modern avian wrist. Confuciusornis shows us, therefore, that we should not posit the highly refined aspects of modern birds as being requisite for active flapping flight. It also removes virtually all of the objections to Archaeopteryx being capable of active flight.>
Would you agree with this statement? Including the observation about Archie? Tenuous inferences...