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Re: Xiaotingia, new birdlike theropod (was Greg Paul is right (again); or "Archie's not a birdy")

From: Ben Creisler

Many thanks to Tom for posting this great discovery and congrats to Greg!
In all the excitement, the full scientific name apparently was not
mentioned. (The authors should have included it in the abstract, of
course.) To make future DML database queries easier: 

Xiaotingia zhengi Xu, You & Han, 2011 

Been very hard to keep quiet about this one for oh these looooonnnnnggggg

An Archaeopteryx-like theropod from China and the origin of Avialae Xing
Xu, Hailu You, Kai Du & Fenglu Han Nature 475, 465–470 (28 July 2011)
doi:10.1038/nature10288 Received 16 November 2010 Accepted 10 June 2011
Published online 27 July 2011 
Archaeopteryx is widely accepted as being the most basal bird, and
accordingly it is regarded as central to understanding avialan origins;
however, recent discoveries of derived maniraptorans have weakened the
avialan status of Archaeopteryx. Here we report a new Archaeopteryx-like
theropod from China. This find further demonstrates that many features
formerly regarded as being diagnostic of Avialae, including long and robust
forelimbs, actually characterize the more inclusive group Paraves (composed
of the avialans and the deinonychosaurs). Notably, adding the new taxon
into a comprehensive phylogenetic analysis shifts Archaeopteryx to the
Deinonychosauria. Despite only tentative statistical support, this result
challenges the centrality of Archaeopteryx in the transition to birds. If
this new phylogenetic hypothesis can be confirmed by further investigation,
current assumptions regarding the avialan ancestral condition will need to
be re-evaluated. 

Thomas R. Holtz, Jr. holtz@umd.edu
2011-07-27 17:20:13 GMT

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