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Re: New Jeholornis specimen



Nick Gardner wrote:

An interesting note from the paper is that Larry Martin seems to consider _Microraptor_ to be a flightless bird. I wonder if that was in reference to _M. zhaoianus_ or _M. gui_.

My guess is _M. gui_ (=?_Cryptovolans pauli_). I suspect that this is a good example of the idea that if a fossil shows unambiguous feathers, then it must be a bird. Thus, if a dromaeosaurid or oviraptorosaur turns up with closed-vaned feathers on the limbs and tail, then it must be a secondarily flightless bird.


Don't get me wrong - I'm not disputing the very real possibility that dromaeosaurids or oviraptorosaurs are secondarily flightless. However, the practice of shoehorning dinosaurs such as _Microraptor_ and _Caudipteryx_ into the Aves simply because they come clothed in feathers is getting a little silly. Recent fossil discoveries have fortified the hypothesis that birds evolved from theropod dinosaurs, with _Microraptor_ and friends lying close to the point of divergence. Czerkas' alernative "hypothesis" that birds and other feathered maniraptorans (including dromaeosaurs) are not theropods at all, but represent a lineage independent of other theropods, has an air of desperation to it.




Tim



of RABID (" 'raptors are birds in disguise ") - the

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