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RE: Archaeopteryx feathers and origin of flight based on 11th specimen



A nice pragmatic aspect of this paper is the new taxon name Pennoraptora:
Definition of Pennaraptora:  The  clade  including  Oviraptorosauria  and  
Paraves  has  not  yet  been  named.  Since  several  recent  analyses  
(including  the  current  analysis)  have  found  support  for  a   topology  
in  which  these  clades  form  sister  taxa  to  the  exclusion  of  
therizinosaurs  within  Maniraptora,  and  given  that  this  clade  is  
important  for  the  understanding  of  feather  evolution,  it  seems  
plausible  to  propose  a  name  for  this  clade.  Thus,  we  suggest  the  
name  Pennaraptora  (from  Latin,  penna,  contour  feather,  and  raptor,  
robber)  for  the  clade  including  Oviraptor philoceratops,  Deinonychus  
antirrhopus and  Passer domesticus and all  descendants  of  their  most  
recent  common  ancestor.  Although  we  are  aware  that  the  origin  of  
pennaceous  feathers  might  go  back  further  in  theropod  phylogeny,  we  
chose  this  name  to  emphasize  that  this  is  the  clade  for  which  we  
currently  know  with  
 certainty  that  pennaceous  feathers  were  present.

Thomas R. Holtz, Jr.
Email: tholtz@umd.edu   Phone: 301-405-4084
Office: Centreville 1216                        
Senior Lecturer, Vertebrate Paleontology
Dept. of Geology, University of Maryland
http://www.geol.umd.edu/~tholtz/
Fax: 301-314-9661               

Faculty Director, Science & Global Change Program, College Park Scholars
http://www.geol.umd.edu/sgc
Fax: 301-314-9843

Mailing Address:        Thomas R. Holtz, Jr.
                        Department of Geology
                        Building 237, Room 1117
                        University of Maryland
                        College Park, MD 20742 USA

> -----Original Message-----
> From: owner-DINOSAUR@usc.edu [mailto:owner-DINOSAUR@usc.edu] On Behalf Of Ben 
> Creisler
> Sent: Wednesday, July 02, 2014 1:53 PM
> To: dinosaur@usc.edu; VRTPALEO@usc.edu
> Subject: Archaeopteryx feathers and origin of flight based on 11th specimen
> 
> Ben Creisler
> bcreisler@gmail.com
> 
> A new paper in Nature magazine:
> 
> 
> Christian Foth,  Helmut Tischlinger & Oliver W. M. Rauhut (2014) New specimen 
> of Archaeopteryx provides insights into the evolution
> of pennaceous feathers.
> Nature 511: 79–82 (03 July 2014)
> doi:10.1038/nature13467
> http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v511/n7507/full/nature13467.html
> 
> 
> Discoveries of bird-like theropod dinosaurs and basal avialans in recent 
> decades have helped to put the iconic 'Urvogel' Archaeopteryx
> into context and have yielded important new data on the origin and early 
> evolution of feathers. However, the biological context under
> which pennaceous feathers evolved is still debated. Here we describe a new 
> specimen of Archaeopteryx with extensive feather
> preservation, not only on the wings and tail, but also on the body and legs. 
> The new specimen shows that the entire body was
> covered in pennaceous feathers, and that the hindlimbs had long, symmetrical 
> feathers along the tibiotarsus but short feathers on the
> tarsometatarsus.
> Furthermore, the wing plumage demonstrates that several recent 
> interpretations are problematic. An analysis of the phylogenetic
> distribution of pennaceous feathers on the tail, hindlimb and arms of 
> advanced maniraptorans and basal avialans strongly indicates
> that these structures evolved in a functional context other than flight, most 
> probably in relation to display, as suggested by some
> previous studies. Pennaceous feathers thus represented an exaptation and were 
> later, in several lineages and following different
> patterns, recruited for aerodynamic functions. This indicates that the origin 
> of flight in avialans was more complex than previously
> thought and might have involved several convergent achievements of aerial 
> abilities.
> 
> 
> News stories:
> 
> http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2014/07/140702-archaeopteryx-fossil-feathers-dinosaurs-science/
> 
> http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/d-brief/2014/07/02/early-bird-fossil-snapshot-feather-evolution/