Skip to comments.Living dinosaurs
Posted on 10/01/2002 8:32:43 AM PDT by SteveH
News in Science
News in Science 30/9/2002 Living dinosaurs
[This is the print version of story http://www.abc.net.au/science/news/stories/s687677.htm]
If we are to believe the message of a new exhibit demonstrating the evolutionary transition from dinosaurs to birds, dinosaurs are not extinct.
Four life-sized reconstructions of ferocious-looking, smart-thinking, flesh-eating feathered dinosaurs representing 125 million-year-old missing links between dinosaurs and birds have landed at the Australian Museum in Sydney as part of the Chinese Dinosaurs exhibition.
"The birds we see flying around our backyards are actually living dinosaurs, descendants of prehistoric beasts we all once presumed became extinct 65 million years ago," said museum director, Professor Mike Archer.
"But feathers were evolving as dinosaur attributes long before they became valuable as flight structures," he said.
"Indeed fossils uncovered in the Liaoning Province of China have provided a whole sequence of missing links in the dinosaur to bird story."
One of the earlier links is Sinosauropteryx prima. The creature is covered with what looks to be a fine fuzz but are really small barbs a link between scales and feathers.
"It's a metre-long, meat-eating, ground-dwelling predator, closely related to the dinosaur in Jurassic Park II which ate the little girl on the beach," said Professor Archer.
He speculated these very early feathers were probably for insulation since this group was almost certainly warm blooded.
The Sinornithosaurus millenii (top picture) embodies a later link.
"This is a very vicious little predator about a metre long. But here the feathers are much larger although they're not fully formed or capable of flight," said Professor Archer.
An interesting characteristic of the creature was its capacity to lift its arms over its head in a flapping motion. Professor Archer said scientists assumed its array of feathers had a purpose to frighten predators, help capture prey, attract mates or threaten male competitors.
The next stage the development of feathers for flight is seen in creatures like the Archseopteryx, a smaller animal than Sinornithosaurus millenii with longer and assymetrical feathers.
While there has been some debate as to whether dinosaurs (unlike other groups of reptiles) are the ancestors of birds, Professor Archer believes since 1996 there has been no strong argument against the hypothesis.
"I don't know anyone who is still holding out on this one," he said. "Other than the creationists of course who don't want anything to be ancestral to birds."
Chinese Dinosaurs is open until February next year. The dino-bird exhibit is sponsored by The Australian Skeptics.
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more likely democrats
Talk about a demotion.
Theadorus Kennedii in its native habitat in Hyannis, 1998
Flying squirrels manage to glide a bit from flaps of skin attached to their arms and legs
A predator who could reach up over his head would be able to climb up a tree, where he could hide and leap down onto the back of prey passing underneath. A smaller predator could bring down a larger prey if he could jump on it from above and get his teeth into the back of its neck before the prey realized what was happening
A pouncing-from-above predator would get a big advantage from any ability to glide on the way down.
This is why squirrels are not to be trusted.
I am really glad I decided to skip that movie. I want to be entertained, not horrified. What a bunch of sick creeps dream up this garbage?
Your first thought SHOULD have been about Walter Kronkite.
Answer: " Living Dinosaurs "
Question: Who Are DIFI,Barbara Boxer and #42?
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