Wednesday, September 13, 2023

An Early Bird-Like Dinosaur

Environmental & Science Education, STEM, Biological Evolution, Paleontology, Nature of Science, History of Science

Ed Hessler

--Early bird evolution is complicated. -- Hailu You, palaontologist at the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 
You is a co-author of a September 6, 2023 paper published in the British journal Nature titled "A new avialan theropod from an emerging Jurassic terrestrial fauna."

Jude Coleman has written a Nature News comment which is archived here and I hope stable. I include both because most are tucked away behind a paywall PDQ but both are working at the time of posting.

The quote in the epigraph is one to remember not only with respect to early bird evolution but to evolution, generally. See Orgel's 2nd rule which is related. Coleman notes that its specialty was likely running or wading not flying like a contemporary Archaeopteryx. Both lived 150 mya

Coleman quotes paleontologist Mark Loewen who was not not involved in the study said that the research "'adds to mounting evidence that by the time of Archaeopteryx, dinosaurs had already diversified into different kinds of birds." 
This means new ecological niches.

There is an artist's rendition of this bantam-sized bird. The colors, as much as we might like them to be real are the product of imagination.

The reporting by Coleman is short but richly so I'll not extract from it. There is a reference for the original paper, which is behind a paywall, with some information visible - the title, about the authors and a few lines from the abstract. 
There are the usual insights in Coleman's reporting into how scientist's reason as well as how evolution works. 

This was a lucky find as Coleman observes.

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