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Re: New paper on pre-Archaeopteryx coelurosaurian dinosaurs

On Wed, Oct 27, 2010 at 5:40 AM, Jason Brougham <jaseb@amnh.org> wrote:

> I hope that no one goes overboard about the new Xu et al. paper. As the 
> authors state themselves:
> "such a  phylogenetic hypothesis would have significant implications for the 
> reconstruction of the
>  theropod - bird transition but it has yet to be tested by quantitative 
> analysis."

IF - and this is still a big IF - the topology showing
Oviraptorosauria inside Aves is supported, then it means that the
largest known theropod (_Gigantoraptor_) is a bird.

(I know that being a member of Aves does not necessarily mean that
something is a 'bird', the latter being a vernacular term.  But
still... _Archaeopteryx_ is almost always said to be a 'bird', and if
oviraptorosaurs are closer to modern birds than ol' Archie is, well
then there's no reason why they shouldn't also be called birds.
Sternberg was right after all when he thought _Caenagnathus_ was a

But I'm getting way ahead of myself.  This phylogenetic hypothesis has
yet to be tested.