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Thread: Anchiornis huxleyi

  1. #1 Anchiornis huxleyi 
    Lem
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    Had a quick look around this forum board, and there don't seem to be any topics on the new Dinosaur discovery in China.

    Anchiornis huxleyi was recently discovered in China. A small, feathered, bird like Dinosaur, and seemingly an ascendant of the famous Archaeopteryx.

    Pretty exciting for people interested in Palaeontology!


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  3. #2  
    Universal Mind John Galt's Avatar
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    Here is the abstract of the relevant paper. (Is this the one you meant?)

    Xing Xu, et al. "A new feathered maniraptoran dinosaur fossil that fills a morphological gap in avian origin." Chinese Science Bulletin 16 December 2008

    Abstract
    Recent fossil discoveries have substantially reduced the morphological gap between non-avian and avian dinosaurs, yet avians including Archaeopteryx differ from non-avian theropods in their limb proportions. In particular, avians have proportionally longer and more robust forelimbs that are capable of supporting a large aerodynamic surface. Here we report on a new maniraptoran dinosaur, Anchiornis huxleyi gen. et sp. nov., based on a specimen collected from lacustrine deposits of uncertain age in western Liaoning, China. With an estimated mass of 110 grams, Anchiornis is the smallest known non-avian theropod dinosaur. It exhibits some wrist features indicative of high mobility, presaging the wing-folding mechanisms seen in more derived birds and suggesting rapid evolution of the carpus. Otherwise, Anchiornis is intermediate in general morphology between non-avian and avian dinosaurs, particularly with regard to relative forelimb length and thickness, and represents a transitional step toward the avian condition. In contrast with some recent comprehensive phylogenetic analyses, our phylogenetic analysis incorporates subtle morphological variations and recovers a conventional result supporting the monophyly of Avialae.

    Full paper.
    Abstract

    The disappointing element is the uncertain age of the source deposits.


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  4. #3  
    Lem
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    Ah yes! Thankyou very much! I'll look forward to reading this article.

    I agree, it is a little disappointing that we have no exact age of Anchiornis, although apparently it pre-dates Archaeopteryx by about 10m years.

    Is it possible that Anchiornis could fly?
    I have not yet heard that Anchiornis possessed a hollow bone structure like today's birds, I apologise if it is mentioned in the article, I am posting from a school computer and it will not let me download the file.
    As I am not a professional Palaeontologist, I cannot make accurate judgements, however, when studying Anchiornis' fossil remains (and looking at Palaeoartist's impressions) it seems that the feathers on the hind limbs may have made gliding possible for this creature. As it also possesses claws, much like Archaeopteryx, perhaps it could scale trees and jump from tree-to-tree, much like today's Flying Squirrel?
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