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SCI/TECH: Missing link between Dinosaurs and birds discovered

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posted on May, 4 2005 @ 01:38 PM
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125 million year old fossils have been discovered in Utah, which may point to the missing link between meat carnivorous dinosaurs and herbivorous birds. The new species has been named Falcarius utahensis, meaning "sickle-maker from Utah."
 



www.chron.com
WASHINGTON - Birdlike dinosaurs newly unearthed in Utah may be a missing link between primitive meat-eating creatures and more evolved vegetarians, U.S. researchers reported today.


The 125-million-year-old fossils show features of two-legged carnivorous dinosaurs called maniraptorans, from which birds are believed to have evolved, they said.

The fossils also have leaf-shaped teeth, stubby legs and the expansive bellies of plant-eaters, the researchers reported in this week's issue of the journal Nature. The new species is named Falcarius utahensis, meaning "sickle-maker from Utah."

"Falcarius is literally a missing link," Scott Sampson, chief curator at the Utah Museum of Natural History, told a news conference.

"Falcarius is kind of half-raptor and half herbivore. This transition is triggered by a shift in diet." It appeared at around the time that tasty, nutritious, flowering plants appeared on Earth, he said.


Please visit the link provided for the complete story.


It seems that new species of dinosaur fossils are making alot of headlines lately. Just recently, and fossil of a completely new species from the pachycephalosaur family was discovered in South Dakota.

Related AboveTopSecret.com Discussion Threads:
NEWS: New Dinosaur Species Discovered




posted on May, 4 2005 @ 01:50 PM
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Sounds like quite a creature!


From the Source:

She describes it as "the ultimate in bizarre ... a cross between an ostrich, a gorilla and Edward Scissorhands"


An artist's conception shows the bird-like feathered dinosaur Falcarius utahensis.


You know, I have often wondered if perhaps some distant memory of some late winged dinosaur were perhaps the source of all of the legends about dragons. Just a thought.



posted on May, 4 2005 @ 02:21 PM
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No, memories of distant winged dinos aren't the source of dragon legends (crocodiles, maybe... but dinos, no.) The dinosaurs had come and gone and were replaced by giant mammals (most of which also died) long before the first prehumans appeared.



posted on May, 4 2005 @ 02:27 PM
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Anyone interested in the link between birds and dinos might also be interested in Mei Long.

pharyngula.org...

news.nationalgeographic.com...

The second link also shows an artist's rendering, showing the sleeping pose of this adorable little dino.



posted on May, 4 2005 @ 05:59 PM
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Originally posted by Byrd
No, memories of distant winged dinos aren't the source of dragon legends (crocodiles, maybe... but dinos, no.) The dinosaurs had come and gone and were replaced by giant mammals (most of which also died) long before the first prehumans appeared.


Or at least thats what youve been told. This is a pretty cool find. My favorite part is the part about the flowers. I bet their were all kinds of different species of fruit way back then that kicked todays fruits asses.



posted on May, 4 2005 @ 07:19 PM
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Sounds like someone's buying intot he whole "Jurassic park", hollywood monster thing.

If previous species were very effective, they would not have been wiped out by competiton with newer species. The hardiest, toughest, most efficient forms survived.

I'd put any species of thorned-vine blackberry, for example, against anything growing in the dinosaur ages (nasty stuff, hard to kill without tough pesticieds, or fire, and even then, comes back). Hell, someone posted her erecently that even common *grass* was tough enough to wipe out many of the dino's other food sources..

Cats and dogs have better vision, sense of smell, and hunting instincts than any velociraptor. Otherwise, the raptors would be here and the canines and felines would not. Modern animals descended from these, the prototypes.

Consider today's flora and fauna the production pieces, while prehistoric *anything* was the prototype. The Wright Flyer to the Boeing 777. The first blowgun to the M-16. Or the ENIAC to the IPAQ (for a true dinosaur to smaller modern device comparison).


Originally posted by CmptrN3rd5

Originally posted by Byrd
No, memories of distant winged dinos aren't the source of dragon legends (crocodiles, maybe... but dinos, no.) The dinosaurs had come and gone and were replaced by giant mammals (most of which also died) long before the first prehumans appeared.


Or at least thats what youve been told. This is a pretty cool find. My favorite part is the part about the flowers. I bet their were all kinds of different species of fruit way back then that kicked todays fruits asses.



posted on May, 4 2005 @ 08:15 PM
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Originally posted by Phugedaboudet
Sounds like someone's buying intot he whole "Jurassic park", hollywood monster thing.

If previous species were very effective, they would not have been wiped out by competiton with newer species. The hardiest, toughest, most efficient forms survived.

I'd put any species of thorned-vine blackberry, for example, against anything growing in the dinosaur ages (nasty stuff, hard to kill without tough pesticieds, or fire, and even then, comes back). Hell, someone posted her erecently that even common *grass* was tough enough to wipe out many of the dino's other food sources..

Cats and dogs have better vision, sense of smell, and hunting instincts than any velociraptor. Otherwise, the raptors would be here and the canines and felines would not. Modern animals descended from these, the prototypes.

Consider today's flora and fauna the production pieces, while prehistoric *anything* was the prototype. The Wright Flyer to the Boeing 777. The first blowgun to the M-16. Or the ENIAC to the IPAQ (for a true dinosaur to smaller modern device comparison).


So what you're saying is that you flunked evolutionary biology? This is not at all how it works. Evolution is not progressive in this sense. Species are not replaced by "better" versions. Raptors are not here because a meteor struck the planet and killed about 90% of everything. Cats and dogs could be here solely because of stochastic reasons--not because they are better. Look at the Cambrian explosion--animals are not necessarily better now than the phyla then. Survival past major extinction events seems to be stochastic--the post-extinction assemblages are not better than previous ones, simply different. You cannot possibly argue, for instance, that a great white shark is better than megaladon sharks who were 50+ ft long and hunted whales. The whales aren't any "better" now. They aren't really bigger (I believe some Basillosaurs were 70+ft. and rivalved Blue Whales in size), or faster, and probably not much smarter. Likewise, during the Cretaceous there were giant crocodiles, also around 40-50ft. I believe. These were "better" than contemporary crocodilians in that they were larger and could say kill a hippo or an elephant. They hunted the same way. They were as smart and as fast, just bigger. There isn't enough megafauna to support megapredators at present. It isn't because contemporary predators are better. It would be absurd to argue that tigers or lions are better than saber tooth cats if by better you mean better vision, faster, stronger, smarter. This is what punctuated equilibrium tells us--after diversification post-extinction, things pretty much stay the same for a long time.

You're thorn-vined blackberry would be quite dead in the Cretaceous. First off, who is going to pollinate it? Right there it dies--pollinators for that species probably didn't exist. Secondly, temperatures were much warmer. Blackberries don't grow in the tropics do they? Third, are blackberries adapted to the the viral and bacterial pathogens of the time? Viruses and bacteria can rapidly adapt to a new host like that--but the blackberry vines can't. Blackberry loses again. Fourth, can the blackberry adapt to herbavore pressures on it? I can't think of any mammals that graze on blackberrys because they're thorny. Probably not a problem for dinos. Blackberry's lose again. Is the soil right for blackberries back then? It's merely being contemporary and invasive doesn't mean it wins. So you're blackberry isn't better 80 million years ago. It is around now because the climate doesn't favor cycads and ginkos and conifers as much as it favors flowering plants--this is not an "improvement", just a shift laterally. Likewise, common grasses did not "wipe" anything out because they are better. Climate changes shifted the distribution of species. Grasses don't wipe out things in the rainforest because climate there doesn't favor them (until things are clear cut of course).

The vision argument is laughable. Ichythousaurs had the largest eyes of any vertebrate, even larger I believe than giant squids. So you're talking about a predator that could see better than anything in the oceans today and probably at greater depths. Eyes in cephalopods are largely unchanged--so squids and octopi have been seeing the same way for hundreds of millions of years. Insect eyes are largely unchanged for two hundred plus million years. Cats and dogs actually have bad color vision--we don't know about dinos. Guessing from birds it is likely that dinos had better color vision than cats and dogs. Visual acuity? Birds are better than mammals as well. It is possible that some dinos closely related to birds, like the raptors, had greater visual acuity.

Better smell? Maybe. But moths pretty much have any mammal beat on olfaction don't they? Are they better?

Faster? Unlikely. Most reliable studies indicate dinos were about as fast as contemporary land animals (aside from specialists for speed like cheetahs--which are not better than anything since they're inbred and get killed by lions all the time).

Smarter? Maybe. But brain size isn't everything as birds have shown. Crows make and use tools probably as well as chimps. Gray parrots can use language about as well as primates. Dinos had tiny brains, no doubt. They weren't going to be doing any mathematics, but they may well have been as smart as contemporary birds.

I thought Gould had pretty much destroyed the notion of progressive evolution. It is certainly dead among actual working evolutionary biologists. There's a weak trend towards increased complexity, but other than our big brains, most of those transitions happened a long, long time ago (when dinos were running around). I mean ants domesticated aphids and fungus tens of millions of years before we were around. Agriculture was a done deal long before we showed up. So even the complexity thing was pretty much over tens of millions of years ago. Evolution is change, it doesn't have to be "betterness" and usually isn't. It is only better than the guy next to you, not the one that preceded you both by a hundred million years.



posted on May, 4 2005 @ 08:44 PM
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I agree with most of what you've said, but a couple of things caught my eye. Care to elaborate?



Agriculture was a done deal long before we showed up.


What do you mean by this exactly? Was this in reference to your ants/aphids comment, or something else? Agriculture was very definitely influenced by cultivation and selective seeding. So it is in a state of unnatural evolution as we speak. Doesn't seem to me to be a done deal. And then there's the sticky question of wheat evolution...

The argument on smell is lopsided, because the primary modern mammalian contenders are dogs, and they didn't evolve naturally. Man influenced their evolution a great deal, and the modern dog is a bit of a pet project of man's. No pun intended.


Smarts, again, the dogs kind of throw the balance out of whack in favor of mammals. They were selected for inteligence for generation upon generation. Modern wolves lack the inteligence of modern dogs, and this speaks to the effect man has had on his environment, but it doesn't speak to the pre-natural suitabilty of modern animals.

The argument of size, I agree, is mostly moot. Take a crocodilian from pre-history and ask it to survive in the Nile, or the Amazon, or off the Australian coast, and it will almost certainly starve to death. It will be the biggest, baddest predator around, but it will still be susceptible to starvation, disease, and tiny parasites. Conversely, take a modern croc ('better') and place it in the environment of its enormous ancestors, and it will almost certainly be abused and eventually consumed by its gigantic counterparts. Not to mention, what self-respecting 45ft female crocodile would be caught dead bringing a 'puny' 18ft male home. Inevitably some 50ft male would smash the would be suitor into paste, and woo by virtue of being the one left standing.


The individuals that are alive at any given time are the best, being alive is evolution's reward. Alive = Good/Better/Best. Dead = Worse. Plain and simple.

As rg said, animals compete a.) against each other, not against their ancestors, and b.) animals don't compete in a vacumm, they are influenced by their environment.



posted on May, 4 2005 @ 09:07 PM
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Jurrassic Park, in case you didn't know, wasn't someone smoking Marijuana but research from Paleotologistd(sp?) like Robert T. Bakker, the man who found Acrocarnothus and Utah Raptor.(The raptor the first Veli. were based off in JP1 before they were brought back to actual size in 2 and 3) Along with many others.

Not all dinosaurs had small brains, just like not all of them were monsters towering over buildings or whatever.

Raptors were mainly pack hunters, equal to that of wolves, but with the better capability to "speak" in both sound and visual.(the scene in JP3 were the kid makes a sound chamber was based off what was done in late 1999 by Paleo Robert T. Bakker)

A raptor would tear the # out of you, a bear, or a little kitty. Hell, a little kitty would tear the # out of you, only reason we haven't been eaten by everything is that we made tools/weapons.



posted on May, 4 2005 @ 10:02 PM
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Originally posted by Phugedaboudet
Sounds like someone's buying intot he whole "Jurassic park", hollywood monster thing.

If previous species were very effective, they would not have been wiped out by competiton with newer species. The hardiest, toughest, most efficient forms survived.

I'd put any species of thorned-vine blackberry, for example, against anything growing in the dinosaur ages (nasty stuff, hard to kill without tough pesticieds, or fire, and even then, comes back). Hell, someone posted her erecently that even common *grass* was tough enough to wipe out many of the dino's other food sources..

Cats and dogs have better vision, sense of smell, and hunting instincts than any velociraptor. Otherwise, the raptors would be here and the canines and felines would not. Modern animals descended from these, the prototypes.

Consider today's flora and fauna the production pieces, while prehistoric *anything* was the prototype. The Wright Flyer to the Boeing 777. The first blowgun to the M-16. Or the ENIAC to the IPAQ (for a true dinosaur to smaller modern device comparison).


Originally posted by CmptrN3rd5

Originally posted by Byrd
No, memories of distant winged dinos aren't the source of dragon legends (crocodiles, maybe... but dinos, no.) The dinosaurs had come and gone and were replaced by giant mammals (most of which also died) long before the first prehumans appeared.


Or at least thats what youve been told. This is a pretty cool find. My favorite part is the part about the flowers. I bet their were all kinds of different species of fruit way back then that kicked todays fruits asses.


Wow that post was so lame. Youre saying my cat could kick the sh*t out of a Raptor? ok...


EDIT: Life doesnt work the same way as technology.

[edit on 4-5-2005 by CmptrN3rd5]



posted on May, 5 2005 @ 02:21 PM
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Why is this being promoted as a link between birds and dinosaurs??? Because of the feathers? But we already know that feathers are widespread amoung dinosaurs. I get the impression that this is part of the stock that lead to therizinosaurs (previously called segnosaurs, for anyone familiar with that term).

Originally posted by PhugedaboudetIf previous species were very effective, they would not have been wiped out by competiton with newer species. The hardiest, toughest, most efficient forms survived.

Er? Yes they would. Evolution is all about new things comming up and things changing. You are saying that, because these things went extinct, that they never could've arisen in the first place. That doesn't make sense.

Otherwise, the raptors would be here and the canines and felines would not.

Dinosaurs died out long before there were any cats or dogs. They did not compete.

Its true, stuff that is 'prehistoric' isn't necessarily 'big mean and scary', but there were definitly big mean and scary things back then.

jtl
Jurrassic Park, in case you didn't know, wasn't someone smoking Marijuana but research from Paleotologistd(sp?) like Robert T. Bakker

Bakker had little to do with Jurassic Park. The main paleontolgist in the book is Alan Grant, who, Chrichton states, is modeled on Jack Horner. True, Bakker is responsible in part for the "Dinosaur Rennaissance" of a few decades ago, promoting the idea that they were active warm blooded creatures, but, as far as I know, he didn't have much to do with the Book. Later, by JPIII ( i think) Bakker is invovled, and the paleo for the 'bad guys' is actually modeled after the flamboyant-minister-paleotologist-big-hat-wearer Bob Bakker.

edit to add links:
Nature News Article
The Research Paper(pdf)

[edit on 5-5-2005 by Nygdan]



posted on May, 5 2005 @ 03:51 PM
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Not what I meant, Bakker was being used for the "WHat would this dino do? How would this one move?" Stuff. In fact the "Giant Raptor" of the first film was going to be explained as genetic mixup in original movie storyline until Bakker found the Utah Raptor and therefor the scene was never done where they explain why they were so much bigger then Veli. was a genetic mixup.

The original UR was found by amateur digger Bob Gaston. James Kirkland of the Dinamation Society called Bakker about it, and Bakker named it Utah Raptor since it was found in Utah, or "The Hunter of Ancient Utah". Before then the largest raptor was the 120lbs Deinonych, much smaller then in JP1, which were 500-1000lbs.

Bakker was working with the special effects guys of Skunk Works, the movie monsters for JP1 were to be Giant Raptors, but none existed then. He had already sent them info on skin of dinos, different types of teeth and how they were shaped, but still the Giant Raptor was at issue for no one had ever had a raptor that size. But with the new discovery, he had Steven's Giant Raptor. Steven wasn't happy with the real size of raptors and wanted them to be big, well, now they were!

Also, knew about the second one, when I first saw the movie I thought they had actually gotten him into the movie.

I went to a Bakker exibit of his finds when they had it hear Toledo, really cool all the stuff they had, like the only Acro Skeleton known, stuff like that.




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