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Earth Science

4-Winged Proto-Bird Unearthed In China; Predates Archaeopteryx 140

Posted by timothy
from the four-wings-perhaps-the-earliest-insult dept.
Wired reports on a find described September 24 in a note at Nature and the day after at the annual meeting of the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology: a dinosaur fossil bearing true feathers on four limbs. The fossil was discovered in northeastern China, in strata believed to have been deposited between 151 million and 161 million years ago. If that estimate is correct, the newly discovered Anchiornis huxleyi is at least one million years older than the believed age of the more famous winged dinosaur Archaeopteryx.
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4-Winged Proto-Bird Unearthed in China; Predates Archaeopteryx

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  • Possible Dead end. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jellomizer (103300) on Monday September 28, 2009 @08:45AM (#29564381)

    It could also be a dead end in development.

    Sometimes evolutionary traits come up early then the creature dies out only to be "re-evolved" later.

    There sometimes seems to be a misunderstanding in evolution. Concepts the strongest survives, or evolution will only get better and better. Doesn't always fall true. One minor disadvantage could kill you out, allowing the weak creature to exist and thrive without your presence. Or even good traits that get killed off only to come back again.

  • Re:Well then (Score:5, Insightful)

    by AndGodSed (968378) on Monday September 28, 2009 @08:54AM (#29564451) Homepage Journal

    You know the rule; if it tastes like chicken it probably isn't.

  • by maxume (22995) on Monday September 28, 2009 @09:06AM (#29564539)

    Throwing out terms like strong and weak and simply talking about fitness for a given environment makes it easier.

  • Ha (Score:5, Insightful)

    by elrous0 (869638) * on Monday September 28, 2009 @09:14AM (#29564619)
    Anyone find it a little amusing that a species found in a totalitarian country is given the specific name huxleyi?
  • Siamese (Score:1, Insightful)

    by AniVisual (1373773) on Monday September 28, 2009 @11:09AM (#29565937)

    If humans can have conjoined twins and occurrences where one developing foetus is absorbed into another resulting in additional limbs and anatomy, why can't prehistoric animals have them too? This may no more be a defect in the phenotype than true genetic drift

  • by Belial6 (794905) on Monday September 28, 2009 @01:22PM (#29568163)
    You miss the poster's point. He isn't saying that evolution didn't happen. He is positing that he believes the divergence happened WAY sooner than what the 'consensus' claims. He believes that having feathers and not having feathers is a large enough evolutionary gap, and we have enough fossils from the currently believed deliverance period, that if the time line were correct, we would see a lot of intermediary fossils.

    To poster isn't saying that birds didn't evolve from dinosaurs. He is saying that he believes that by just saying 'evolved from dinosaurs' implies that it happened towards the middle or end of their existence as opposed to the beginning. This leads to many people making a perfectly reasonable but incorrect conclusion as to when it happened, while adding nothing to those that correctly understand the statement. Since, if the divergence happened as early as the poster believes, basically all complex animals evolved from 'dinosours'. Since the statement adds nothing for those who are not confused by it, but gives the wrong conclusion to people who are confused by it, from a pragmatic standpoint, it is wrong.

    Of course, it being right or wrong depends on when birds actually first appeared. I'm not arguing that. I'm just pointing out that you are misunderstanding the parent poster.

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