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Re: What is big, fluffy, and could tear you to shreds? Yutyrannus, the 9 m long feathered tyrannosauroid from China

I do realize this - I guess I was hoping (for Feduccia's sake) that he would 
use what is obviously intended to be his magnum opus on the subject to flesh 
out his arguments - in other words, that he actually had a scientific 
hypothesis in mind instead of what appears to be simply an emotional 
unwillingness to let go of a cherished idea. It is really very sad, because 
Feduccia is not a weirdo or a hack - he has contributed a great deal to 
palaeo-ornithology, and the new book seems to contain a great deal of valuable 
information not compiled elsewhere. Perhaps I should not be, but I am still 
shocked that he does not even try to support his key hypothesis, or even 
discuss it in any way other than as a concept that we should take on board for 
no other reason than that it fits his preconceived idea. It's like discussing 
the cosmic aether. 

Ronald Orenstein 
1825 Shady Creek Court
Mississauga, ON
Canada L5L 3W2

On 2012-04-05, at 2:51 AM, Tim Williams <tijawi@gmail.com> wrote:

> Dr Ronald Orenstein <ron.orenstein@rogers.com> wrote:
>> However: I was looking specifically for one thing and failed to find it. 
>> Feduccia's current thesis requires (it would seem to me) accepting that
>> maniraptorids are convergent to dinosaurs.
> I can't top Tom's response, but some background information is useful.
> There was a time back when Feduccia &c regarded the similarities
> between _Archaeopteryx_ and maniraptorans to be the result of
> convergence.  Feduccia himself once argued this point quite forcefully
> (and erroneously).
> Then non-avian maniraptorans were found with feathers - such as
> _Caudipteryx_, _Protarchaeopteryx_ and _Microraptor_.  Oops.  The
> response by Feduccia &c was to then argue that these maniraptorans
> were either secondarily flightless birds or stem birds, and that this
> entire collection of feathered taxa evolved independently of "true"
> theropods.  Feduccia &c were aided and abetted in this dodgy venture
> by the publication of "The Dinosaur Museum Journal" in 2002 by the
> Czerkases, which argued much the same point: that the
> bird/maniraptoran lineage and the theropod lineage evolved separately
> from a common Triassic stock.
> It's all as ludicrous as arguing that hominoids (apes and humans)
> evolved independently of a group made up of lemurs, tarsiers and
> monkeys, from a common stock of basal primates.  But arguing that
> feathered maniraptorans+birds have a separate origin to theropods from
> a shared archosaurian stock is the only way the BANDits can try and
> keep their "hypothesis" alive.  There is an element of desperation to
> the BANDits attempts to re-write bird-archosaur evolution every time a
> significant feathered fossil comes to light.  The BANDit mindset is
> rooted in the outdated, typological mindset that any fossil showing
> true feathers *must*, by definition, be a bird.  As they themselves
> put it: "...birds are monophyletic and are nicely defined by their
> unique possession of feathers."
> Cheers
> Tim