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Alfred Russel Wallace and dinosaurian origin of birds.



From: Ben Creisler
bcreisler@gmail.com

A new online paper:

Nizar Ibrahim &  Ulrich Kutschera (2013)
The ornithologist Alfred Russel Wallace and the controversy
surrounding the dinosaurian origin of birds.
Theory in Biosciences (advance online publication)
DOI: 10.1007/s12064-013-0192-5
http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s12064-013-0192-5



Over many years of his life, the British naturalist Alfred Russel
Wallace (1823–1913) explored the tropical forests of Malaysia,
collecting numerous specimens, including hundreds of birds, many of
them new to science. Subsequently, Wallace published a series of
papers on systematic ornithology, and discovered a new species on top
of a volcano on Ternate, where he wrote, in 1858, his famous essay on
natural selection. Based on this hands-on experience, and an analysis
of an Archaeopteryx fossil, Wallace suggested that birds may have
descended from dinosaurian ancestors. Here, we describe the
“dinosaur-bird hypothesis” that originated with the work of Thomas H.
Huxley (1825–1895). We present the strong evidence linking theropod
dinosaurs to birds, and briefly outline the long and ongoing
controversy around this concept. Dinosaurs preserving plumage, nesting
sites and trace fossils provide overwhelming evidence for the
dinosaurian origin of birds. Based on these recent findings of
paleontological research, we conclude that extant birds indeed
descended, with some modifications, from small, Mesozoic theropod
dinosaurs. In the light of Wallace’s view of bird origins, we
critically evaluate recent opposing views to this idea, including
Ernst Mayr’s (1904–2005) arguments against the “dinosaur-bird
hypothesis”, and document that this famous ornithologist was not
correct in his assessment of this important aspect of vertebrate
evolution.