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Re: Pro(to)avis

Er... why? The taxa around the base of Avialae seem to be okay runners and
okay climbers (Archaeopteryx, Rahonavis, Microraptor, Jinfengopteryx, Mei).

Okay runners, yes. Okay climbers... hmm... for bird standards, yes...

Elongated maxillae

I don't know about this. Jinfengopteryx and Mei have shorter maxillae than
Archaeopteryx and Confuciusornis.

Wow! I've completely missed this so far.

At any rate, this taxon probably lived sometime in the late Triassic or
earliest Jurassic.

[...] I say Middle Jurassic, where we have taxa slightly less derived than Archaeopteryx (Epidendrosaurus), and basal paravians (Pedopenna).

I do not advocate the use of salamanders in biostratigraphy.

However, the Yixian Fm (radiometrically dated to what is now thought to be the Barremian-Aptian boundary) has *Liaoxitriton zhangjiani*, and the Daohugou Fm has the other species, *Liaoxitriton daohugouensis*. Furthermore, the Daohugou Fm _overlies_ the allegedly Tithonian but probably quite a bit younger Tuchengzi Fm (where *Chaoyangsaurus* is from). I have the pdf of a paper by Wang Yuan on this... but stupidly I didn't forward it to myself. It's on the computer in the lab. So, Monday.

It's a real pity that we don't have any terrestrial Middle Jurassic Konservatlagerstätte... *Batrachognathus* and *Sordes* are at least from a Late Jurassic one, though...

Oh, and, before I forget, I should answer the question that the subject line is. *Proavis* is hypothetical. *Protoavis* is only a hypothetical interpretation of real fossil material.