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RE: More New Papers LIVES!

Jerry Harris wrote:

Feduccia, A., Martin, L.D., and Tarsitano, S. 2007. Archaeopteryx 2007: quo vadis? Auk 124(2):373-380.

(In case you're wondering, its really more of the same boilerplate this trio has been pushing for a couple of decades now, applied in many ways to "microraptors" -- which are birds, of course [!] -- in comparison to _Archaeopteryx_, with some emphasis on the Thermopolis specimen. Lots of assertions, little data to back them up, and no point-by-point discussions of the numerous things they've already said that have been rebutted elsewhere. >>>SIGH<<<)

I have to say that, although the paper is loaded with the same misrepresentations and misconceptions as previous papers by this trio, it is slightly less incendiary in tone. Although arguing against the hypothesis that birds evolving from theropods, Feduccia &c do accept that a close relationship exists between dromaeosaurs and birds. That's one of a very few well-supported assertions made in the paper.

As before, Feduccia &c support the bewildering notion that birds and dromies are not theropods, and that birds/dromaeosaurs and theropods evolved from separate archosaur ancestors with a pentadactyl manus. The usual suspects rear their ugly heads: a ground-up origin of flight is said to be "largely falsified", as is the presence of feathers in non-avian theropods; microraptorans are said to have held their legs outward, and so could not have been obligate bipeds; primitive theropods could not give rise to birds because their forelimbs were too short; and so on. Mickey Mortimer would have a field day.

The paper also features this unintentionally humorous (?Freudian) slip by Feduccia &c: "The interpretation of microraptors as an early offshoot of the ancient avian lineage obviates the deficiencies of the theropod origin of birds." But the word "obviate" does NOT mean "to make obvious"; it actually means "to render unnecessary". Oops.



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