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RE: Oryctos Is Back
> It'd be great if these MANIACs who deny a theropod
> ancestry for maniraptorans actually knew theropod anatomy.
> Of the supposedly avian characters he lists in
> archaeopterygid hands which are supposedly not found in
> - Metacarpal I of Archaeopteryx isn't fused to the rest
> of the metacarpus, which can also be said of all
> non-ornithothoracine birds (Shenzhouraptor, Sapeornis,
> - Metacarpal I has an extensor flange in Compsognathus,
> Alxasaurus, oviraptorosaurs and paravians (Gishlick, 2002).
> It gets large in Apsaravis, Yixianornis and similarly
> derived taxa.
> - Metacarpal I was distally ginglymoid in basally all
> theropods (exceptions include derived ornithomimosaurs and
> Paul further notes
> confuciusornithids retain flexible digit III, though digit
> II is less flexible in them and microraptorians.
> - metacarpal I reduced to ~30% of metacarpal II length
> Ornithurae sensu Gauthier
> - metacarpals II and III fused to carpometacarpus
> - digit II with reduced hyperflexion
> - metacarpal I fused to carpometacarpus
> Ornithurae sensu Gauthier and de Queiroz, 2001
> - extensor flange enlarges into process
I note that the above is practically noninformative regarding the part of the
tree between Archie and every single "bird" lineage on its own. If all the
BAND/MANIAC effort would be spent on analyses regarding the interrelationships
of the most primitive members of every "bird" lineage, we might actually get to
Because in the absence of a "silver bullet" fossil, we're essentially still
where Barsbold was at 25 years ago - the presence of "derived avian" traits all
over a subset of theropods, evolving independently and often several times in
parallel. Though it must be remembered that Barsbold was extremely ahead of his
time - his ovoraptorosaurian work put him into a good position to see and
realize what few other people were prepared to accept back then: that there is
not a single trait defining a "bird", and that "birdness" is an assemblage of
Of course several of these "bird-like" theropod lineages are liable to form a
clade. But which, and how do they tie together? Are Neornithes closer to
Enantiornithes than either is to Archie? What did the _Dalianraptor_,
_Shenzhouraptor_, ... lineages evolve into, if they evolved into anything? Is
_Rahonavis_ functionally (but not phylogenetically) an Archie redux? Where did
_Sapeornis_ come from? Essentially, would the real Aves please fly up?
These are the questions that really demand an answer, if we want to get
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