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← "First Bird" Fossil, Archaeopteryx, More Closely Related to Dinosaurs

"First Bird" Fossil, Archaeopteryx, More Closely Related to Dinosaurs - Comments

Neodarwinian's Avatar Comment 1 by Neodarwinian

More closely related to dinos? Must not be the theropods that were ancestral to birds.

Thu, 28 Jul 2011 01:49:23 UTC | #854910

lynda's Avatar Comment 2 by lynda

I can imagine creationists hearing this gleefully gloating that science has to admit it was wrong about a transitional fossil rather that recognizing the honesty of science that goes where the evidence leads.

Thu, 28 Jul 2011 06:09:35 UTC | #854969

Southpaw's Avatar Comment 3 by Southpaw

This isn't all that surprising, given that the current view is that most theropod dinosaurs had some kind of feathering.

Thu, 28 Jul 2011 08:10:50 UTC | #854999

AsylumWarden's Avatar Comment 4 by AsylumWarden

Comment 2 by lynda :

I can imagine creationists hearing this gleefully gloating that science has to admit it was wrong about a transitional fossil rather that recognizing the honesty of science that goes where the evidence leads.

Agreed. They will, of course, ignore the fact that it is still a transitional fossil between birds and dinos, it's just that dinos developed feathers far earlier than previously thought. Not to mention of course the other millions of transitional fossils.

Thu, 28 Jul 2011 08:32:17 UTC | #855006

Moderator's Avatar Comment 5 by Moderator

Note re formatting

We have edited comment 4 to correct the formatting problem which had led to text straying far beyond the right hand edge of the text panel.

It seems to be a problem that creeps in quite regularly when quoting other people's posts. Sorry about that. If it happens to you, you can correct it by editing your post (you have approx 10 minutes after posting in which to do this) and removing any spaces and/or tabs that have been inserted at the start of lines.

Thanks.
The Mods

Thu, 28 Jul 2011 08:52:52 UTC | #855015

Drosera's Avatar Comment 6 by Drosera

This is little more than a hype. No expert has ever claimed that Archaeopteryx was the very first bird; rather that, being close to the common ancestor of birds and dinosaurs, it had characters found in both. That is still as true as it was before. Besides, the new phylogenetic analysis is (by necessity) exclusively based on morphology, which is far less trustworthy than DNA-based analyses.

Thu, 28 Jul 2011 09:58:20 UTC | #855041

Eosimias's Avatar Comment 7 by Eosimias

It's my understanding that some of the biggest, loudest fights among scientists are over matters of taxonomy. (Evolution just won't let living things stay in our neat little boxes.)

I'd welcome a correction if I'm wrong, but it sounds like this is just Dr. Xu's professional opinion regarding a bit of semantics.

But of course the creationists will be all over this in no time.

Thu, 28 Jul 2011 10:20:22 UTC | #855049

DavidMcC's Avatar Comment 8 by DavidMcC

There's still Microraptor anyway, of a similar vintage to Archeoptryx.

Thu, 28 Jul 2011 10:43:42 UTC | #855061

Alan4discussion's Avatar Comment 9 by Alan4discussion

Comment 3 by Southpaw

This isn't all that surprising, given that the current view is that most theropod dinosaurs had some kind of feathering.

I started a discussion on this topic in February - http://richarddawkins.net/articles/587327-feather-evolution. There is an article with lots of detail linked to it.

Thu, 28 Jul 2011 11:01:41 UTC | #855069

DavidMcC's Avatar Comment 10 by DavidMcC

I wonder to what extent the "early birds" were simply the juvenile stage of some terrestial species. Rather like young Komodo Dragon avoiding being eaten by the big boys down on the ground. Maybe they tended to moult their feathers (repacing them with scales?) and came out of the trees as they got bigger. If that was the case, it would make birds neotenic theropods. Alan, there were threads on this way back in 2007 (now lost forever)!

Thu, 28 Jul 2011 13:59:47 UTC | #855133

hawinheja's Avatar Comment 11 by hawinheja

These findings are only natural process of science, it develops with new discoveries, each one of them is helping with the puzzling pieces of nature.Every scientific discovery & theory can be replaced with better ones if proven again scientifically. Thus, no creationist can actually claim that it contradicts itself.

Thu, 28 Jul 2011 22:21:23 UTC | #855376

Eosimias's Avatar Comment 12 by Eosimias

Every scientific discovery & theory can be replaced with better ones if proven again scientifically. Thus, no creationist can actually claim that it contradicts itself.

Well they can't logically claim that, but they can claim it nonetheless -- just as they claim the coelacanth is evidence against evolution.

Thu, 28 Jul 2011 23:40:36 UTC | #855406

AsylumWarden's Avatar Comment 13 by AsylumWarden

They can, they do. If it were all about logic, creationists wouldn't exist at all!

Fri, 29 Jul 2011 12:47:11 UTC | #855542

Zeuglodon's Avatar Comment 14 by Zeuglodon

Comment 7 by Eosimias

It's my understanding that some of the biggest, loudest fights among scientists are over matters of taxonomy. (Evolution just won't let living things stay in our neat little boxes.)

I'd welcome a correction if I'm wrong, but it sounds like this is just Dr. Xu's professional opinion regarding a bit of semantics.

I remember a passage in The Greatest Show On Earth where Dawkins laments the fact that hominid fossil examiners will split hairs over whether such-and-such a fossil is a new species, a subspecies, or even a different genus. Archaeopteryx is a historically important fossil, and it is a beautiful example of the kind of thing that would have happened in the evolution of birds, but to call it 'the first bird' is woefully against the grain of biology.

As for the semantics, you are correct. Dr. Xu is pointing out valid criteria for the classification of animal individuals, such as the arrangement of the hand bones and the shape of the wishbone, but trying to rope it into a class (Birds) is simply arbitrary convention and a convenient label. Who cares if it is technically a bird or a dinosaur? It's still an individual called Archaeopteryx.

Sun, 14 Aug 2011 14:16:11 UTC | #860976