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RE: Feathered dino in NY Times

-----Original Message-----
From: owner-dinosaur@usc.edu [mailto:owner-dinosaur@usc.edu]On Behalf Of
Sent: Friday, March 08, 2002 11:06 PM
To: dinosaur@usc.edu
Subject: Feathered dino in NY Times

Here is a quote from today's New York Times on the feathered dinosaur from
China described in this week's Nature. It's Mark Norell talking:

"These modern-looking feathers," he added, "show definitively that they
evolved in dinosaurs before the emergence of birds and flight, and that
therefore feathers are not an adaptation for flight."

Alas, this is quite untrue. He fails to take into account the possibility
that the feathered dinosaur was secondarily flightless. Feathers may or may
not have appeared for flight, but because it might be a secondarily
flightless form, this specimen can say nothing definitive about the origin
        The big problem in Norell's and others thinking is they are stuck in the
dogma of what a modern bird is and they push it onto the past. I've said
this before on the list (Many years ago I think) we have to stop looking at
what birds are, and look at what birds were, there in lies the rub. It's a
180 turn and those of us who have done this (George, Greg, Stephen Czerkas,
myself and others) have no problem looking at what birds were and how they
        Hopefully in a few months new information will have been published that
will show many others this view. Flight will be looked at again; how big an
animal is, how big the wings were, how much muscle it needed to fly, the
definition of flight itself. These are very interesting times for
paleontology indeed.

Tracy L. Ford
P. O. Box 1171
Poway Ca  92074