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Re: Feduccia on bird origins (again)

David Černý <david.cerny1@gmail.com> wrote:

> Feduccia A 2013 Bird origins anew. The Auk 130(1):1-12
> http://www.aou.org/auk/content/130/1/0001-0013.pdf
> There are several references to _Xiaotingia_ and the recent
> description of feathered ornithomimosaurs in the paper, but on the
> whole it's just the usual collection of non sequiturs, straw men,
> paranoid rants about "censorship", and contempt for algorithmic
> phylogenetics (with the exception of three specific analyses that
> support the author's preconceived notions -- those are great, of
> course). Some of Feduccia's claims are outright lies; for example, he
> states that the BANDit paper by James & Pourtless (2009) has never
> been "cited in recent paleontological literature".

Yep, same old same old.  David M.'s reference to a certain bovine
byproduct is entirely apt.  Feduccia trots out the usual boilerplate:

If it has feathers, then it must be a bird.  (The dead hand of
Linnaean typology at work here.)

A theropod genesis of birds must mean a "ground-up" origin of avian
flight.  (Another urban myth, dispelled long ago.)

Cladistics is the worst method ever.  Except, of course, when it
produces a phylogeny that Feduccia likes (in which case it is
"impeccably rendered").

Insulatory protofeathers couldn't exist because they are maladaptive -
after all, birds quickly abandon their down at maturity .  (Feduccia
is only referring to natal down; but most birds have at least some
down as insulation throughout their lives.  Some have lots of down,
like geese.  You know, the stuff we put in down pillows and down

And so on.

But it's a shame that John Ostrom is dragged through the mud.