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[dinosaur] Anchiornis muscles and soft tissues revealed with lasers (free pdf)

The paper is now out in open access:

Hartman & Xing Xu (2017)
Basal paravian functional anatomy illuminated by high-detail body outline.
Nature Communications 8, Article number: 14576 (2017)

Body shape is a fundamental _expression_ of organismal biology, but its quantitative reconstruction in fossil vertebrates is rare. Due to the absence of fossilized soft tissue evidence, the functional consequences of basal paravian body shape and its implications for the origins of avians and flight are not yet fully understood. Here we reconstruct the quantitative body outline of a fossil paravian Anchiornis based on high-definition images of soft tissues revealed by laser-stimulated fluorescence. This body outline confirms patagia-bearing arms, drumstick-shaped legs and a slender tail, features that were probably widespread among paravians. Finely preserved details also reveal similarities in propatagial and footpad form between basal paravians and modern birds, extending their record to the Late Jurassic. The body outline and soft tissue details suggest significant functional decoupling between the legs and tail in at least some basal paravians. The number of seemingly modern propatagial traits hint that feathering was a significant factor in how basal paravians utilized arm, leg and tail function for aerodynamic benefit.

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Ben Creisler <bcreisler@gmail.com>
Date: Tue, Feb 28, 2017 at 10:30 AM
Subject: Anchiornis muscles revealed with lasers
To: dinosaur-l@usc.edu

Ben Creisler

The actual paper has not been posted online  yet, but here are some news items on a new study of Anchiornis soft tissue using lasers:






HKU Earth Scientist Reconstructs Feathered Dinosaurs in the Flesh with High Power Lasers