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Re: What is biomechanics? (or, The Truth About Flying Snakes - Was: Re: science and philosophy)

--- Colin McHenry <cmchenry@westserv.net.au> wrote:
> What I was talking about was the observation (which is my own, and may or
> may not be correct) that cladistics has yet to identify which 'nearest
> attested relative' might be able to serve as a model for whatever sort of
> dinosaur birds might have evolved from.

Why should a near relative serve as a model for an ancestor?

> You see, I'm actually interested in
> what this beast might of looked like.  Believe it or not, I do understand
> that we will probably never find the fossil that it directly ancestoral to
> birds...but I do beleive that we should be able to deduce, by identifying
> 'nearest attested relatives', what the dinosaur that spawned birds looked
> like.

Very true! But that does NOT mean that the ancestor would look like the
relative. It would like like basal deinonychosaurs AND like basal avialans,
without the derived traits seen in either group.

The question is, which are the derived traits? The avialan-style forelimbs of
recently discovered basal deinonychosaurs suggest that flight may be primitive
for eumaniraptors (deinonychosaurs + avialans), not a derived avialan trait, as
previously thought.

The phylogenetic hypothesis holds, though, in either case.

=====> T. Michael Keesey <keesey@bigfoot.com>
=====> The Dinosauricon <http://dinosauricon.com>
=====> BloodySteak <http://bloodysteak.com>
=====> Instant Messenger <Ric Blayze>

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