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[dinosaur] BANDit book reviews

A couple of book reviews that have not yet been posted to the list:

Ruben J 2017 [Review of] Avian Evolution: The Fossil Record of Birds and Its Paleobiological Significance. Auk 134: 925â926. doi:10.1642/AUK-17-117.1

[no abstract]

Feduccia A 2018 Cretaceous reverie: Review of Birds of Stone: Chinese Avian Fossils from the Age of Dinosaurs by Luis M. Chiappe and Meng Qingjin. Open Ornithol J 11: 27-33. doi:10.2174/1874453201811010027
http://benthamopen.com/contents/pdf/TOOENIJ/TOOENIJ-11-27.pdf (free pdf)

Birds of Stone contains a portfolio of outstanding photographs of the spectacularly preserved Jehol bird fossils, from the Chinese Lower Cretaceous, and other pertinent vertebrate fossils of varying ages, along with comments on each fossil. The book nicely illustrates a range of species of the radiation of enantiornithines (opposite birds), the dominant Mesozoic landbirds, as well as the ornithuromorphs, the Mesozoic antecedents of the modern neornithine birds. Although the first section of the book is fairly straight forward, the second section, on bird origins and their early evolution is one-sided, presenting only the popular paleontological view and omits discussion of controversial subjects. Examples are the highly speculative presence of dinosaur protofeathers and improbable scenarios of flight origins. There are no citations of the numerous credible opposing views in the literature.


Having recently finished my own review of Birds of Stone, I find it a bit strange that Feduccia essentially criticizes Chiappe and Meng for not writing a different book on a different topic â one that would focus on the origin of birds rather than Mesozoic avian diversity. He also complains that Caudipteryx and other non-avialans should be included in the book on the grounds that "many now believe" that "pennaraptorans (oviraptorosaurs, dromaeosaurs and troodontids) are nested within Aves", which is probably only true for the loosest possible sense of "many".

(On a side note, I was excited to see a paper titled "Anchiornis soft tissues revealed by laser-stimulated fluorescence" in the references, which I didn't remember reading before. As it turned out, that's because it's not the title of an actual paper, but rather a headline from the Wild Prehistory news aggregator.)

David ÄernÃ