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Feduccia in _PNAS_

  Technically, the first dinosaur paper of the new year; congrats, Alan.


  Feduccia, A. 2006. Mesozoic aviary takes form. _Proceedings of
   the National Academy of Sciences, Philadelphia_ 103(1):5-6.
   (Published online before print December 27, 2005,
   DOI 10.1073/pnas.0509970102)

  "When I attempted a modern synthesis of avian evolution in 1980
   (1), I told the then science editor at Harvard University Press
   that I thought the information on avian evolution was coming in
   so sluggishly that there would be little need for a quick
   revision. Was I ever wrong! By the early 1980s, the revelation
   of the presence of volant paleognaths in the Northern
   hemisphere Paleogene (2) provided compelling evidence that
   ratites were not ancient passengers on drifting continents, but
   the product of a post-Cretaceous/Tertiary radiation from
   ancestors that for the most part flew to their respective
   continents. In the same year, an initially muted epiphany
   appeared with the dramatic discovery by Cyril Walker (3) of the
   existence of a completely unknown subclass of Mesozoic birds,
   which he called the enantiornithines, or opposite birds,
   so-called because the fusion of their tarsal elements was the
   opposite of that of ornithurine (modern-type) birds; they also
   possess a distinctive arrangement of the bones of the shoulder
   girdle and a unique sternum. The story of Mesozoic birds became
   complicated by the discovery in 1985, by Russian colleague
   Evgeny Kurochkin (4), of *Ambiortus*, a Lower Cretaceous
   archaic but modern-type ornithurine (carinate) bird with an
   advanced flight apparatus. However, Walker's discovery was
   followed by the discovery of additional enantiornithine or
   opposite birds from the Lower Cretaceous of Spain (5)."

  This is how it begins, but I have not the access to retrieve the rest. As a
commentary, it technically lacks an abstract.


Jaime A. Headden

"Innocent, unbiased observation is a myth." --- P.B. Medawar (1969)

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