Avian Ancestor?

Archosaur fossil suggest dinosaurs were not the ancestors of modern birds, according to a new study.

By | July 10, 2014

EUREKALERT, STEPHEN CZERKASAn analysis of a sparrow-sized fossil has challenged the present status of dinosaurs as ancestors of modern birds, according to a study published in the July 2014 issue of the Journal of Ornithology.

The tiny creature, named Scansoriopteryx (meaning “climbing wing”), was previously classified a coelurosaurian theropod dinosaur, a group that scientists considered the ancestors of flying dinosaurs and modern birds. But a recent analysis of a fossil from Inner Mongolia using advanced 3-D microscopy and high-resolution photography revealed previously ambiguous structures in the animal’s pelvis, limbs, and tail. The examination also revealed elongated tail tendons along its vertebrae that resemble those seen in Velociraptor.

Scansoriopteryx did have feathered wings, but its skeleton lacks “the salient characters necessary to be regarded as dinosaurs,” according to study authors Stephen Czerkas of the Dinosaur Museum in Blanding, Utah, and Alan Feduccia of the University of North Carolina. Instead, the team considers the animal an early bird, with ancestors that were tree-climbing archosaurs rather than dinosaurs.

In their paper, the authors described these early birds as “clearly arboreal,” with an ability to perch and climb trees and branches using manual digits. Scansoriopteryx may also have used its elongated digits to glide into landings the way modern gliding lizards do, rather than landing in the manner of bipedal birds.

“The identification of Scansoriopteryx as a non-dinosaurian bird enables a reevaluation in the understanding of the relationship between dinosaurs and birds,” Czerkas said in a statement. “Scientists finally have the key to unlock the doors that separate dinosaurs from birds.”


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Avatar of: caradoc


Posts: 2

July 10, 2014

So what reprecussions will this have (if any) for the variety of feathered dinosaurs?  

Avatar of: Paleogirl


Posts: 2

July 12, 2014

Too bad Fedducia and Czerkas have no evidence to back up their claims. Every paleontologist working with dinosaurs agrees that bird are descended from and thus dinosaurs themselves. Every single study done by every other researcher shows Scansoriopteryx to be a non-avian dinosaur. Fedducia and Czerkas are notorious for trying to disprove dinosaurian ancestry for birds, and this is far from the first time they've relied on pseudoscientific methods to do so. A simple google search about the authors of this paper will show you how often they put out ideas like this that are picked apart by real scientists. 

Avatar of: Paleogirl


Posts: 2

Replied to a comment from caradoc made on July 10, 2014

July 12, 2014

None at all since virtually every paleontologist aside from the two behind this nonsense thinks that their methods are unscientific and don't yield valuable results. We know for a fact that birds are dinosaurs through both fossils and genetic evidence. No challenging hypothesis or study has ever been succesful in disproving that. This one is no different.

As for the feathered dinosaur question, even if this was correct nothing would change because we know for a fact that some (and likely most) non-avian dinosaurs had some form of feathers or quills since we've identified them in nearly every major group of dinosaurs.

Avatar of: caradoc


Posts: 2

July 13, 2014

I should have done some googling! :D  I was more curious about reprecussions such as an earlier development of feathers/feather like features prior to divergence - but yes - googling would have helped! :D

Avatar of: DDispenza


Posts: 1

July 14, 2014

I read a lot of books on reincarnation, UFO contactee reports; summing this up, there are evidently extrasolar planets in large numbers that are inhabited by primitive, prehistoric fauna and flora. Such seem to be on planets in distant stellar systems that are in an earlier stage of their evolution, tens and hundreds of millions of years earlier than the Earth. Perhaps others who have done work in reincarnation study can comment on their experiences remembering seeing extra solar planets containing prehistoric alien fana and flora. I know of one distant planet, viewed in an interlife period, that is covered be large oceans, containg early marine life similar to the Silurian. It's land areas are just barren, rock-covered deserts.

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