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      Two feathered dinosaurs from northeastern China

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      Nature

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          The theropod ancestry of birds: new evidence from the late cretaceous of madagascar

          A partial skeleton of a primitive bird, Rahona ostromi, gen. et sp. nov., has been discovered from the Late Cretaceous of Madagascar. This specimen, although exhibiting avian features such as a reversed hallux and ulnar papillae, retains characteristics that indicate a theropod ancestry, including a pubic foot and hyposphene-hypantra vertebral articulations. Rahona has a robust, hyperextendible second digit on the hind foot that terminates in a sicklelike claw, a unique characteristic of the theropod groups Troodontidae and Dromaeosauridae. A phylogenetic analysis places Rahona with Archaeopteryx, making Rahona one of the most primitive birds yet discovered.
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            The phylogenetic position of the Tyrannosauridae: implications for theropod systematics

             Thomas Holtz (1994)
            Tyrannosaurids are a well-supported clade of very large predatory dinosaurs of Late Cretaceous Asiamerica. Traditional dinosaurian systematics place these animals within the infraorder Carnosauria with the other large theropods (allosaurids, megalosaurids). A new cladistic analysis indicates that the tyrannosaurs were in fact derived members of the Coelurosauria, a group of otherwise small theropods. Despite certain gross cranial similarities with the large predators of the Jurassic and Early Cretaceous, the Late Cretaceous tyrannosaurids are shown to be the sister group to ornithomimids and troodontids, which share a derived condition of the metatarsus. This clade is found to be nested within Maniraptora, which is a more inclusive taxon than previously recognized. The atrophied carpal structure found in tyrannosaurids and ornithomimids is derived from a maniraptoran condition with a large semilunate carpal, rather than from the plesiomorphic theropod morphology.
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              Early evolution of avian flight and perching: new evidence from the lower cretaceous of china.

              Fossil bird skeletons discovered in Lower Cretaceous lake deposits in China shed new light on the early evolution of avian flight and perching. The 135 million-year-old sparrow-sized skeletons represent a new avian, Sinornis santensis, n. gen. n. sp., that preserves striking primitive features such as a flexible manus with unguals, a footed pubis, and stomach ribs (gastralia). In contrast to Archaeoperyx, however, Sinornis exhibits advanced features such as a broad sternum, wing-folding mechanism, pygostyle, and large fully reversed hallux. Modern avian flight function and perching capability, therefore, must have evolved in small-bodied birds in inland habitats not long after Archaeopteryx.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Nature
                Nature
                Springer Nature
                0028-0836
                1476-4687
                June 1998
                June 1998
                : 393
                : 6687
                : 753-761
                10.1038/31635
                © 1998

                http://www.springer.com/tdm

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                Self URI (article page): http://www.nature.com/articles/31635

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