[Taxacom] Older than Archaeopteryx

Kenneth Kinman kennethkinman at webtv.net
Sun Sep 27 21:51:36 CDT 2009

Dear All,
      In a post here in October 2005, I announced the news of a
troodontid that was a contemporary of Archaeopteryx.  Now the troodontid
genus Anchiornis has been confirmed as being older than Archaeopteryx by
perhaps 5-10 million years (see article in latest issue of Nature).  
      Of course, I had merged my Order Troodontiformes into Order
Archaeopterygiformes way back in 2002, so I regard Anchiornis not as a
"near-bird", but as a bird, and now the oldest known bird.  Before they
found the new specimen with a skull, they thought it was even closer to
Archaeopteryx phylogenetically, but the skull clinched the troodont
relationship.  The big question now is whether the slightly less
aerodynamic wing of Anchiornis is a primitive feature, or if Anchiornis
is actually secondarily flightless.  Who knows?  That will be debated
until new forms fill in even more of this fascinating puzzle of bird
       -------Ken Kinman

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