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Re: Feduccia's allegations
At 11:53 AM -0500 1/23/03, Ronald Orenstein wrote:
Does this mean that if Feduccia could be brought to admit that the
specimens of Microraptor et al were genuine in every respect, he
would still argue that they had nothing to do with birds because
they postdate Archaeopteryx? Unfortunately, the interviewer seems
not to have asked him that one....
Remember that Microraptor is at least 20 million years after
Archaeopteryx, so the fossils Xu et al found cannot be ancestral.
Either it's an evolutionary throwback (living fossil), or it's an
evolutionary dead-end. It's fascinating in either case, but it can't
provide a definitive proof of how flight originated in birds. (The
proliferation of feathered dino-birds is making it very hard to deny
that birds did not evolve from theropods, however.)
What we need to show the origin of flight is a Yixian-like deposit
dating before Solnhofen that preserves ancestors of Archaeopteryx.
For that matter, it's very interesting that Solnhofen has not yielded
any birds (or dino-birds) other than Archaeopteryx. The critical
fossils probably would come from the mid to late Jurassic, not the
Triassic as Feduccia suggests. -- Jeff Hecht