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Re: From Nature: "Fossil boosts trees-down start for flight"

Does it really apply to flight origins?  It looks a lot like an
adaptation to increase maneuverability and reduce drag while still
adequately supporting the aft cg that is a consequence of the pronounced
tail, rather than being a statement on flight origins.  As an aside, I'm
not a proponent of exclusive ground-up or trees-down origins, but do
doubt that bird flight began with gliding, and at first glance, suspect
that this beast may eventually provide some peripheral evidence that it

Toni Geoly wrote:
> http://www.nature.com/nsu/030120/030120-7.html
> >From the article:
> The discovery in China of a remarkable dinosaur with birdlike
> feathers on its hindlimbs and tail as well as its forelimbs will
> re-ignite debate about the origins of birds, feathers and flight.
> Xing Xu from the Institute of Vertebrate Palaeontology and
> Palaeoanthropology in Beijing and his colleagues found six specimens
> of the new, 77-cm-long dinosaur in the fossil beds of Liaoning
> Province, in the north-east of China. They are believed to belong to
> a new species - Microraptor gui - of the previously known genus
> Microraptor.
> The researchers think that the animals lived between 124 and 145
> million years ago in trees and used their two pairs of wings, limbs
> outstretched, to glide between branches - much as flying squirrels,
> though entirely unrelated, use inter-limb skin flaps to leap from
> branch to branch.
> The new specimens will certainly fuel the long-running argument about
> precisely which group of extinct reptiles are birds' closest cousins.
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