1 thought on “Nature, Archaeopteryx

  1. BKC Post author

    “The iconic feathered dinosaur…”

    Or bird, again, if you believe Mike Lee:

    (Likelihood reinstates Archaeopteryx as a primitive bird; Michael S. Y. Lee and Trevor H. Worthy 2011, http://rsbl.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/early/2011/10/18/rsbl.2011.0884.short)

    rather than Xu Xing, feathered dinosaur palaeontologist extraordinaire:

    (An Archaeopteryx-like theropod from China and the origin of Avialae, Xu et al 2011, http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v475/n7357/full/nature10288.html)

    Xu Xing’s talk at SVP provoked a lot of debate, as he tried to refute the just published Lee & Worthy refutation of his own paper; frustratingly it was the exact same time as mine so I missed it!

    Ryan Carney (lead author on the feather paper) gave an excellent talk on the feather at SVP. Interestingly, a rival group was unable to detect melanosomes from the best preserved ‘Thermopolis’ Arachaeopteryx specimen (which incidentally was also subject to phylogenetic debate, that time about whether flight evolved twice in birds and their close non-avian dinosaurian relatives:

    Corfe & Butler 2006, Comment on ‘‘A Well-Preserved Archaeopteryx Specimen with
    Theropod Features’, http://www.sciencemag.org/content/313/5791/1238.2

    Plus don’t forget last year was the 150th anniversary of the discovery of Archaeopteryx, complete with celebratory 10 euro coin (and removal from it’s perch as the earliest bird, or not, as discussed above). I suspect the feather paper was supposed to come out in the 150th year too, couple of weeks late, ah well.


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