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Re: Greg Paul is right (again); or "Archie's not a birdy"
> Absolutely amazing fossil. We are so
> lucky we lived to see it.
> And they also make Epidendrosaurus and Epidexipteryx the
> most basal avialans. Since Xu felt that Epidexipteryx wasn't
> volant (since it didn't have wing feathers), I guess that
> makes it possible that the last common ancestor between
> birds and Archaeopteryx possibly didn't fly either?
Not fully unexpected, all this, but great. Very very very great. Even though
the phylogeny may not be too well-suported, the traditional view is undermined
enough that anyone can now see why it's problematic to use Archie as a
taxonomic delimiter for Aves. And the conceptual paradigm shift alone is worth
it - as it used to be, one had to actively unlearn Archie's "celebrity"
phylogenetic status because one grew up learning "it was a crucial missing link
between birds and dinos". True; its role in the development of evolutionary
theory can hardly be understated. But it makes a bad "missing link" - that
honor increasingly looks like it goes to scansoriopterygids.
Now the salient questions hopefully shift to the real deal:
1. What apomorphies allowed Paraves to evolve (more-or-less-)self-powered
flight? They are quite obviously exapted, but how exactly?
2. Why did only one of the "birdlike paravian" lineages survive the K-Pg