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> >Abstract: The recently reported Jeholornis represents the only known
> >bird with a complete long skeletal tail except for Archaeopteryx.
> Does _Rahonavis_ not count because its tail isn't completely known, or
> because it isn't a "bird"?
As it says, in rather convulsed words: because the only known specimen has
a skeletal tail that is long but not complete. :-)
> Are there any other feathers preserved? Two or four wings? :)
Two. The impressions are rather faint, though, and I only saw them on one
of the two specimens...
> >We conclude that the common ancestor of birds must have a more
> >primitive tail than that in Archaeopteryx,
> >confirming the side branch >position of
> >Archaeopteryx in the early avian evolution.
OK, this isn't news... those who thought that Archie was a direct ancestor
of the living birds have become quite rare.
> Should that be said about _Archaeopteryx_ when _Jeholornis_ is clearly a
, then yes. (Maybe I should better write it as a phylogram, like this:
, then, too, because then Archie may have reduced its tail independently
from the really short-tailed birds.
While I am at it, what should I choose as an outgroup for an analysis of
the above problem, without having to make a 500-character coelurosaur
analysis out of it?
> Which tail shape allows for better flight ability?
May I hazard the guess that this depends on how you want to fly. :-) And
that's not taking sexual selection into account -- several studied species
of living birds have tail shapes that are a compromise between natural and
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