24 September 2006

Archaeopteryx gets another run

Four wings” claims a University of Calgary PhD student of Archaeopteryx, one of our best-known bord fossils.

“The idea of a multi-winged Archaeopteryx has been around for more than a century, but it hasn’t received much attention,” Longrich said. “I believe one reason for this is that people tend to see what they want or expect to see. Everybody knows that birds don’t have four wings, so we overlooked them even when they were right under our noses.”

Archaeopteryx looks very much like a South American bird known as a Hoatzin & its feathers etc seem to be fully developed, all of which speaks against it being a proto-anything.

The discovery of penguin fossils amidst dinosaur fossils in New Zealand in recent years also tends to hint that birds & dinosaurs aren’t temporally arranged as simply as one might hope, so it’s interesting to see a fresh approach to this fellow.

Longrich asserts that “birds descended from arboreal parachuters and gliders, similar to modern flying squirrels” & cites features of Arachaeopterxy which support the idea.

No comments: