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RE: Evidence For a Feathered Velociraptor...
Dora Smith wrote:
> I'm pretty sure that a number of cenozoic birds had teeth.
No, they didn't. There's the "pseudo-toothed birds" (pseudodontorns) of the
family Pelagornithidae, but these did not have true teeth but tooth-like
projections. Pseudodontorns were certainly neornithean birds, although their
exact affinities are unclear; Pelecaniformes or basal Neoaves (Odontoanserae)
have both been proposed. Absence of teeth (edentulousness) appears to be
primitive for Neornithes (the crown group), and no non-neornithean bird taxa
have been described from the Cenozoic (except possibly for the lithornithids,
which were at least very close to the Neornithes, and toothless anyway).
> Google is confirming that, but having trouble coughing up details.
No doubt. ;-)
> If other dinosaurs had wishbones and quill knobs, maybe they had more
> morphological similarities to birds.
I see what you're getting at here, but the many of the characters used to
characterize the bird clade (Avialae) were already present in non-avialan
Theropoda, at various levels.
> If flighted dinosaurs who were not birds lost flight but maintained quill
> knobs and other morphological traits thought to be unique to birds, then I'd
> say there was alot of parallel evolution going on - or maybe simply broader
Other scenarios are possible. Quill knobs may have been present in the most
recent common ancestor of modern birds (Neornithes) and _Velociraptor_, but
secondarily lost in various lineages. As the paper by Turner &c makes clear
(especially in the Supp Info), not all modern flying birds have quill knobs.
Thus, among modern taxa, the presence of quill knobs indicates the presence of
feathers, but the absence of quill knobs does not necessarily indicate the
absence of feathers.
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