Sunday, December 11, 2011

A new study shows that restoring the status of Archaeopteryx as the first bird - and not just another dinosaur bird

Archaeopteryx, the famous fossil feathers of the bird was probably the oldest and most primitive after all.

For 150 years the child was in first place in the avian evolutionary tree until this summer when the discovery of a close relative suggested it was a bird-like just dinosaurs. It seems to have regained its position thanks to a previous analysis anatomical more sophisticated.

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

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

who 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 combination of features of birds and reptiles has been placed in a key position deviates evidence of dinosaur birds in the tree of life, and always to support Darwin's theory of evolution by natural selection.

Since then, paleontologists have largely taken as a starting point for birds.

Archaeopteryx was so closely linked to the adaptation of newcomers resulting from the tree of life was spent in this group too.

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

Instead of considering all aspects anatomical considered equally informative, Dr. Lee gave more weight slowly changing features to minimize the effects of biological traits that are developed independently in lineages non-relatives.

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