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Re: Another theory on the origin of birds (plain text this time)... :-)
Dr. Newman's ideas about UCP1 could possibly be useful in future evolutionary
His current paper has serious flaws. I can only read the abstract right now,
but there are two definite factual errors that I've found. He misidentifies the
most speciose class of vertebrates - he states that it is Aves when it is
actually Osteichthyes or else Actinopterygii - and he misidentifies the
function of the pectoralis muscle. I am still fascinated by the paper because
it appears to be a hypothesis coming from someone completely outside the field
of Paleontology. Dr. Newman is wading into an extremely competitive and even
somewhat combative field, so he will surely be piled on for any errors and for
framing his ideas outside of the normal paradigms.
Dr. Newman has replied to my comments in a courteous and friendly manner, and
promised to correct his errors.
I wish he could team up with a Paleontologist and see what the UCP1 hypothesis
could do in a phylogenetic framework.
But the logical problems are many. In fact, I can't really make any sense of
the hypothesis right now.
If UCP1 was lost early in the dinosaur lineage, and even if non - avian
dinosaurs went extinct because they failed to compensate for the deletion of
UCP1, perhaps due to the "nuclear winter" that may have followed the impact
event, then we must still explain why birds' feathers compensated but no other
maniraptorans' feathers did, and why enantiornithines went extinct at all. If
non - avian dinosaurs went extinct at the K-T because they had thermoregulatory
problems, how did they radiate and diversify for nearly 200 million years
during various climates, and even colonize both poles?
On Jul 5, 2011, at 3:51 AM, David Marjanovic wrote:
>> For what it's worth:
> Oh, yeah, that. Hasn't this already come up here?
> First, it's _not_ a hypothesis on the origin of birds. It's a hypothesis on
> the origin of _dinosauromorphs_ or even ornithodirans in general.
> Second, what makes the author think dinosauromorphs ever had brown fat? Isn't
> that a mammal-specific tissue?
> Are professors "of cell biology and anatomy" somehow prevented from knowing
> enough to have a phylogenetic perspective on evolutionary biology?
> And how on the planet can anybody after about 1930 still doubt that ostriches
> and even penguins had flying ancestors!?!?!
> And then Prof. Newman adds a new idea to explain "the extinction of non-avian
> dinosaurs": they froze to death because they lacked brown fat. Doesn't he
> understand he needs to explain the extinctions of ammonites, planktonic
> foraminifera, and cheirolepidiacean conifers, and that hole in the ground
> through which the coast of Yucatán runs, at the same time?
Senior Principal Preparator
American Museum of Natural History
(212) 496 3544