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NY times opinion



From Sunday's NYT (at http://www.nytimes.com/2003/01/26/opinion/L26DINO.html):

Re "Fossil of 4-Winged Dinosaur Casts Light on Birds and Flight" (news article, Jan. 23):
While the discovery of a four-winged dinosaur may ultimately prove to be of enormous importance, I doubt that it will cast new light on the evolution of birds. Since the geographic strata in which the fossils were found are about 125 million years old, this animal could not have been the progenitor of the avian line. Archaeopteryx fossils have been dated to almost 150 million years ago ? more than 20 million years before this find ? and this animal is clearly more primitive in terms of flight equipment.


The line of thought this fossil might support is that feathers evolved at least twice, once in birds and again in dinosaurs. If this fossil had dated before the era of the first birds, had it been older than Archaeopteryx, it may have been the missing evolutionary link between the two groups of animals. HOWARD ZIMMERMAN

New York, Jan. 23, 2003
The writer is co-editor of The Scientific American Book of Dinosaurs.
==============================
[I only see him listed as "editorial project coordinator"; small difference?]

The first paragraph seems to fall in line with prior comments by Feduccia and co., but the second paragraph stands in stark contrast to those who favor Longisquama as a critter with structures homologous to avian feathers.


=========================================== John R Hutchinson NSF Postdoctoral Research Fellow Biomechanical Engineering Division Stanford University Durand 209, BME Stanford, CA 94305-4038 (650) 736-0804 lab (415) 871-6437 cell (650) 725-1587 fax ===========================================