Archaeopterygid bird from China

Ken Kinman kinman2 at YAHOO.COM
Wed Mar 30 13:22:16 CST 2005

      While I do agree with you that the location of oldest fossil is not "necessarily" near the origin of a family, I agree with Dick that an Asian origin for Archaeopterygidae is presently the best hypothesis.  We don't even know yet if this new genus is as old as Archaeopteryx anyway, so I am certainly not basing my hypothesis on the age of the Chinese form.  HOWEVER, the closest relatives to Archaeopterygidae (namely, Scansoriopteryx and Cryptovolans) also come from eastern Asia.

     I suspect that Archaeopterygidae may have never made it to North America (if so, they were probably derived spin offs as well).  And if we DID find an early primitive member of this family in Antarctica, we would have to completely rethink this hypothesis.  But frankly I doubt they ever got anywhere close to Antarctica, because I know of no evidence at all that this family ever left Eurasia.  If one is discovered in South America (where lots of interesting Mesozoic fossils are being found), I will be frankly shocked and forced to reconsider, but I'm not going to hold my breath.
  --- Cheers,
John Grehan wrote:
     It seems non scientific in that the fossils themselves do not lead to the hypothesis.  The hypothesis comes from somewhere else.  For example, why would one need to hypothesize that a taxon had its origin at or near the location of the oldest fossil?  And how can any further fossils 'test' that proposition.  If one found an older Archaeopterygid bird in Antarctica, for example, one would still not be any the wiser about the initial hypothesis, or even that a taxon has an origin associated with any one particular location.

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