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Re: flying Archie

Remember that feathered Solnhofen fossils show little variation; all 10 known fossils are usually assigned to Archaepteryx, although there has been some splitting from time to time. There's a lot more variation in the Yixian fauna. That is consistent with Archaepteryx being much closer to the origin of birds.

Yes, but it's also consistent with Solnhofen being a marine locality and with the nearest dry land consisting of small islands with drought-adapted vegetation and presumably low biodiversity, the next tall trees being 200 km away... the Yixian and Jiufotang Fms represent lakes in a forest.