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Propatagium reveals flying ancestry of oviraptorosaurs (new Feduccia & Czerkas paper)

Ben Creisler

A new paper:

Alan Feduccia & Stephen A. Czerkas (2015)
Testing the neoflightless hypothesis: propatagium reveals flying
ancestry of oviraptorosaurs.
Journal of Ornithology (advance online publication)
DOI: 10.1007/s10336-015-1190-9

Considerable debate surrounds the numerous avian-like traits in core
maniraptorans (oviraptorosaurs, troodontids, and dromaeosaurs),
especially in the Chinese Early Cretaceous oviraptorosaur Caudipteryx,
which preserves modern avian pennaceous primary remiges attached to
the manus, as is the case in modern birds. Was Caudipteryx derived
from earth-bound theropod dinosaurs, which is the predominant view
among palaeontologists, or was it secondarily flightless, with volant
avians or theropods as ancestors (the neoflightless hypothesis), which
is another popular, but minority view. The discovery here of an
aerodynamic propatagium in several specimens provides new evidence
that Caudipteryx (and hence oviraptorosaurs) represent secondarily
derived flightless ground dwellers, whether of theropod or avian
affinity, and that their presence and radiation during the Cretaceous
may have been a factor in the apparent scarcity of many other large
flightless birds during that period.