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RE: New claw paper, was RE: Early Birds Lived on the Ground
Chris Glen wrote:
> OK, was holding off on posting a heads up to DML on the paper as there's the
> issue of the online Supp
> Data they've put online being an old draft rather than the final corrected
> editor's version. I've been
> assured this will be rectified ASAP. bit of a shame...
I have to say I really liked this paper. Firstly because it reinforces my
pre-conceived notions about early bird evolution, and that gives me a nice warm
fuzzy feeling inside.
The second reason is that it hammers home just how arbitrary and misleading the
old "trees-down" vs "ground-up" dichotomy was (and still is). Many modern
birds divide their time between the trees and the ground - so why not the
earliest birds and their immediate ancestors? Unfortunately, too many
hypotheses have assumed that "arboreal" and "cursorial" were mutually exclusive
when it comes to the behavior of pro-avians. 'BCF' comes to mind (but then
again, BCF is just plain silly). Other ideas also fall into this trap, such as
the hypothesis that pro-avians glided from tree to tree and rarely ventured
onto terra firma. This goes against the grain of the entire osteology of
theropods, especially the hindlimb morphology.
It'd be interesting to see how avisaurids wash up in all this, given that this
is one non-neornithean Mesozoic bird group that shows anatomical evidence in
support of specialized perching.
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