Archaeopteryx Retrieve The Bird Perched On The Tree Of Family

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Archaeopteryx, the famous feathered fossil was probably the earliest and most primitive bird, after all.

For 150 years held the top spot on the avian evolutionary tree, until this summer when the discovery of a close relative suggested it was just a dinosaur-like birds. It seems to have regained his perch old, with a more sophisticated anatomical analysis.

"This shows that when you look at the data with a higher degree of analytical rigor that supports the traditional view that Archaeopteryx is a bird," said Dr Paul Barrett, dinosaur researcher at London's Natural History Museum.

The first complete specimen of Archaeopteryx was discovered in Germany in 1861, two years after the publication of Charles Darwin's Origin of Species.

He lived about 150 million years ago, had sharp teeth, three fingers with claws, a long bony tail feathers, wings wide, could grow by about 0.5 meters long and could fly.

This is a combination of avian and reptilian features I saw placed in a key position in the branching tree of life for birds, dinosaurs, and if concrete evidence to support Darwin's theory of evolution by natural selection.

Since then, paleontologists have been largely the starting point of the bird life.

But in July, researchers led by Xing Xu of the University of Linyi, China, the exhumation of Xiaotingia zheng, an unknown chicken-sized dinosaur. The group conducted a statistical analysis of its anatomical features, which placed him in a group of birds as dinosaurs called deinonychosaurs.

Archaeopteryx was so closely associated with the new arrival, the resulting refinement of the tree of life as it moved into this group too.

Now Dr. Michael Lee of South Australia Museum in Adelaide, Australia, repeated the exercise with the same technique, known as phylogenetic analysis, but this time applying a more sophisticated statistics.

Instead, take into account all the anatomical features, see how informative, Dr. Lee put more emphasis on the slowly evolving features in order to minimize the biological properties that are related lineages evolve independently.

"When we did this for we found that Archaeopteryx torn from dinosaurs like Velociraptor and submit it with the birds," said Dr. Lee.

The research was published Wednesday in the Charters of the Royal Society Biology.

As the species and the specimens were found, the differences between them are reduced, leading to numerous species of run between the two groups.

"Now there's a fine line between birds and dinosaurs and birds, with only subtle differences between them," said Dr. Barrett. "Therefore, it is not surprising that the positions of these animals occasionally going around the tree as they really are very close."

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