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The Feathered Dinosaur and Mesozoic Bird Thread

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  • I think this idea was put forward in the tv show called ..... ARRGH I have forgotten what it is called, it was on earlier this year. I am embarrassed again I had it on the tip of my tongue a minute ago. :o




  • Rubecula wrote: »
    I think this idea was put forward in the tv show called ..... ARRGH I have forgotten what it is called, it was on earlier this year. I am embarrassed again I had it on the tip of my tongue a minute ago. :o

    Planet Dinosaur? Microraptor was featured in it.




  • Yes dlofnep I think that is the one. Thanks.. :)




  • To an extent I must agree with Kevin Padian in that the focus of the article (I have not read the paper in full so cannot be certain that it is being accurately represented) seems to be conflating the evolution of flight in birds with Microraptor a bit too much. Obviously, Microraptor is not the ancestor of birds, so applying its flight/gliding dynamics to bird evolution is speculatory at best.




  • Well it would be impossible to say that one single species is the ancestor of all birds without genetic evidence, but by examining the variety of all feathered dromaeosaurs - we can see how the ability to fly may have arisen. One of the bigger problems with this, is we seem remiges exist at different eras, lending to the idea that flight has arisen at many times during the time of the dinosaurs. Convergent Evolution has happened a number of times in the mammal/marsupial world - I don't see why it couldn't have happened with dinosaurs.

    I think it would be fair to say, that the later feathered dinosaurs were more likely to give rise to birds than the earlier dinosaurs like Archaeopteryx or Xiaotingia. Microraptor and Sinornithosaurus lived during the Early Cretaceous, so we may find further fossils from the mid to late Cretaceous with either full-blown bird-features, or at least - as close as it gets to it.


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  • I remember many years ago being told thet it is thought (or was thought at the time) that as good as birds are at flying, the prehistoric flyers were probably better. I am certain that this does not include microraptor, but I am likely to be wrong. I suppose it is something we are unlikely to ever know.




  • Rubecula wrote: »
    I remember many years ago being told thet it is thought (or was thought at the time) that as good as birds are at flying, the prehistoric flyers were probably better. I am certain that this does not include microraptor, but I am likely to be wrong. I suppose it is something we are unlikely to ever know.

    I've heard that about pterosaurs, but never about primitive birds/bird-like dinos.




  • Interesting stuff, and cool looking creature :>

    http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2013-01/sovp-ffb010213.php

    51364_web.jpg




  • If only Hitchcock knew....


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  • Oooh it's got proto-wingy things on its legs! Seemed to be all the rage back in the day...




  • I guess we won't know until we discover more specimens, particularly its ancestors.

    and as an aside, what has happened to the Scientific American website? It has become advert city!




  • Before losing the book on a bus (no comment), I was reading 'Bones of Contention', on the history of the Arch. I seem to remember none of the experts at the time cast doubt on its bird like character especially in light of the avian like feathers on the samples.




  • Manach wrote: »
    Before losing the book on a bus (no comment), I was reading 'Bones of Contention', on the history of the Arch. I seem to remember none of the experts at the time cast doubt on its bird like character especially in light of the avian like feathers on the samples.

    I have that book - a very good read and perhaps more of an insight into the political impact of Archaeopteryx rather than its taxonomy.




  • Manach wrote: »
    Before losing the book on a bus (no comment), I was reading 'Bones of Contention', on the history of the Arch. I seem to remember none of the experts at the time cast doubt on its bird like character especially in light of the avian like feathers on the samples.

    Ah, but then at the time, there were no other known "dino birds" :pac:




  • Very true. However, AFAIR, there were samples of feathers (of differing types(?)) found in the Solhofen limestone. So there would have been an expectation that there would be a feathered dinosaur present. As well, there were other evolutionary theories at the time (ie Richard Owen pushing a non-Darwinian one), hence Arch. would have been minutely scrutinised to prove/disprove the various contested ideas. Finally, feathers are mostly used in flight (given the evolutionary cost to develop them) - so while there numerous examples today of flightless birds today but these are mostly not found in the tropics that Arch. would have dwelt in.




  • Isolated feathers were indeed found before the skeletons, hence the name (which was applied to the first feather found rather than a complete animal), but I don´t think there were expectations for a feathered dinosaur. Dinosaurs were plainly considered reptiles back then, even if unusual ones, and the only animals known to have feathers at the time were birds, so I'm sure they were expecting to find an ancient bird, not a dinosaur.

    Of course, when they compared the Archaeopteryx skeletons to Compsognathus, they did notice the similarities, but even so I don´t remember reading anything about anyone expecting feathers in Compsognathus... (mind you, this may be because everything I've read about the discovery of Archie comes from two books only).

    Also, lots of flightless birds come from tropical islands, you have the dodo, the cassowary, the recent moa-nalo and mole-ducks from Hawaii, Xenicibis from Cuba, Ornimegalonyx also from Cuba, a flightless caracara in Jamaica, etc.


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  • Da da da da da da da da da da da da da Batmandino




  • And the award for most eye-catching / awesome thread title goes to...

    Is this the first time the discovery has been mentioned or written about? The article says that the actual discovery was a few years back




  • I hadn´t read about it before, but I do think I had seen a series of blog posts (didn´t have time to actually read them) here and there about modern day bird patagia, and I don´t think it's a coincidence. I suspect a few people knew about the discovery already but kept the details secret until now.




  • Apparently this Hesperornis was almost eaten by a polycotylid plesiosaur, yet escaped to reach adulthood:

    http://www.eartharchives.org/articles/bird-s-escape-from-marine-predator-recorded-in-fossil/

    28e2cfab911ca7ec5a61d62a471863c4.jpg




  • Described as possibly looking like a cross between a large seagull and a cormorant- but with teeth. Still, remains are fragmentary. 
    http://phys.org/news/2016-12-prehistoric-bird-species.html

    newprehistor.jpg




  • Thats incredible! :eek:

    Rejoice in the awareness of feeling stupid, for that’s how you end up learning new things. If you’re not aware you’re stupid, you probably are.





  • Time to fire up the cloning machines


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  • Great spot, thanks Adam. Soon we'll all have one!


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