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Re: Protoavis?

At 11:48 AM 10/17/97 -0600, you wrote:
>     Don't even ask me to explain the technical details of this paper,
        Personally, I wouldn't really understand them... :)

>     Currie and Zhao do not explicitly state whether or not they
>consider _Protoavis_ to be a theropod, but one of thier opening statements
>are highly suggestive: "Although _Protoavis_ has characters suggesting
>avian affinities, most of these are also found IN THEROPODS [boldface
>mine], which considerably weakens the claim that it is a bird." (p.2243)
        Possibly due to the artificial distinction imposed by popular
interpretation that _Protoavis_ is not a theropod. Having just looked over
the drawings in Chatterjee's book again, I'd be very surprised if at least
some of the material were not theropodian. In any case, we must consider the
context of the article. Wonder what Dr. Currie really thinks. He has seen
the specimen...

>     They later go on to say "Comparison between the braincases of
>_Troodon_ and _Protoavis_ does suggest that they are amazingly similar for
>animals seperated by 160 Ma."
        Kind of weird this is...

>Draw your own conclusions, but there it is.
        Personally, I'd rather withhold any conclusions. It is important to
consider the whole animal before continuing any such discussion. My point
was that a) people are harping way too much on the suggestion that
_Protoavis_ is not a theropod, and b) the evidence itself should be
considered. Dr. Currie is clearly doing this, although the context was less
of an evaluation of _Protoavis_ than comparison with _Troodon_. Yay! :)

>      As far as _Unenlagia_ being more readily accepted then _Protoavis_
>in spite of its arguably more fragmentary condition, I don't consider this
>to be as unreasonable as you make out.
        Hey, hold on a minute!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
        I did not at all suggest that it was unreasonable. Far from it. I
could not contend Novas and Puerta's interpretations of the animal, and I
think that the widespread acceptance of their interpretation is well
founded. My point was that _Protoavis_ is more complete than _Unenlagia_,
and criticisms based on its incompleteness are therefore suspect.

>With the dinosaur-bird connection
>already very well established by many decent theropod specimens, another
>theropod with additional _Archaeopteryx_ like features is not as
>incongruous to the overall apparant pattern of bird evolution as
        I would not debate this.
    Jonathan R. Wagner, Dept. of Geosciences, TTU, Lubbock, TX 79409-1053
        "There's a fine line between stupid and clever."  -- Spinal Tap