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Re: The Morrison Formation: older than you think

Jamie Stearns wrote:

6 million years older than Archie... That would mean we now have some good skeletal evidence of pre-Archaeopteryx "deinonychosaurs," something the Feducciaries are likely going to have a tough time explaining away (though they may well try to challenge the revised dates). Of course, it would be better if we had a Microraptor-like creature with feather impressions, but this is something, at least.

I wish that's all it took to convince the "Feducciaries" that birds are theropod dinosaurs: a pre-_Archaeopteryx_ feathered _Microraptor_-like dinosaur.

What seems to be happening is that a number of people who were once (and continue to be) steadfastly against the idea that birds are theropods are nevertheless prepared to accept that birds are closely related to feathered maniraptorans like _Microraptor_. These folks have settled (for the moment) on the idea that maniraptorans (deinonychosaurs, oviraptorids, birds) have a separate origin to other theropods from basal archosaur ("thecodont") stock. This rather half-baked compromise is an attempt to reconcile the presence of incontrovertibly avian feathers in certain maniraptorans with their own deeply-held convictions that birds cannot be theropods. It's a farrago of nonsense, of course; but it's the reason why a pre-_Archaeopteryx_ feathered maniraptoran would probably not convince the Birds-Are-Not-Dinosaurs crowd that birds are theropods. They already refuse to accept that the feather-like body covering in non-maniraptorans (like _Sinosauropteryx) represent homologs of feathers.