Archaeopteryx isn’t the only evolutionary icon losing its claim as the ancestor of birds. In recent months we’ve seen paleontologists increasingly arguing that the entire clade of dinosaurs should no longer be considered ancestral to birds. As the WSJ article states:There are lingering doubts that birds today are descendants of dinosaurs. Researchers at Oregon State University recently argued that the distinctive anatomy that gives birds the lung capacity needed for flight means it is unlikely that birds descended from dinosaurs like archaeopteryx and its kin. Their findings were published in June in the Journal of Morphology.As paleontologist John Ruben of Oregon State was quoted saying when his article was published:But old theories die hard, Ruben said, especially when it comes to some of the most distinctive and romanticized animal species in world history.
"Frankly, there's a lot of museum politics involved in this, a lot of careers committed to a particular point of view even if new scientific evidence raises questions," Ruben said. In some museum displays, he said, the birds-descended-from-dinosaurs evolutionary theory has been portrayed as a largely accepted fact, with an asterisk pointing out in small type that "some scientists disagree."
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
Birds Not Evolved From Dinos