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Re: Microraptor hanqingi, new species from China.


On Wed, May 23, 2012 at 4:30 AM, Tim Williams <tijawi@gmail.com> wrote:
> I know I'm having a rant against GSP's arboreal theropod paradigm
> here.  It's not intended to be a personal attack - in the spirit of
> free and open debate, I'm merely disputing many of the features used
> by GSP and others to put _Microraptor_ and _Sinornithosaurus_ up in
> the canopy.
>> The situation with Archaeopteryx is much more complicated and interesting.
> That's something I do agree with.  But if _Archaeopteryx_ did enter
> trees, it's the kind of theropod that was clearly not comfortable in
> the arboreal realm.  Same goes for any other non-ornithothoracean
> theropod.  With the exception of _Epidendrosaurus_, that is.... but
> that's another story.
> Cheers
> Tim

Tim... We've discussed this before... and this is not directed at
you... but the opportunity to return back to it again has presented

Since ornithothoracean theropods ended up being comfortable in the
trees, how and why did that happen if non-ornithothoracean theropods
weren't becoming comfortable in the trees?

I'll go out on a limb and say behaviors conspired with selection, but
we'll need to enlist the services of H.G. Wells' Time Traveler to
decipher that mystery. The way I see it,... although Science demands
it (and we'd like to have it), an orderly, by the numbers,
trait-specific and clearly defined pattern for a transition that was
likely being influenced by a symphony of selective pressures across a
wide range of species to different degrees with different expressions
and over a great expanse of time... just doesn't exist.  It's not like
we're discussing something "easy", like changes in centrosaurine horn
and boss counts. We're theorizing on the how's and why's a group of
animals underwent a radical change in their mode of life, using
road-kill smears of the transition stitched with traits of derived and
extant forms to trace the path backwards. No wonder there are
different points of view based on the same evidence.

Such are the reasons for why, in the grand scheme of things, I
hesitate to regard particular theropods as not being scansorial or
even slightly this side of arboreal because certain traits have been
deemed ambiguous for arboreality. Ambiguous to who (or whom)?

Alright.  That dead horse has been sufficiently beaten... again ;-)