Paleontology: The eleventh Archaeopteryx

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Paleontology: The eleventh Archaeopteryx

Post by Gawdzilla Sama » Sat Jan 27, 2018 10:14 am

Paleontology: The eleventh Archaeopteryx

Date: January 26, 2018

Source: Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München

Summary: Researchers report the first description of the geologically oldest fossil securely attributable to the genus Archaeopteryx, and provide a new diagnostic key for differentiating bird-like dinosaurs from their closest relatives.
Researchers from Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitaet (LMU) in Munich report the first description of the geologically oldest fossil securely attributable to the genus Archaeopteryx, and provide a new diagnostic key for differentiating bird-like dinosaurs from their closest relatives.

Some 150 million years ago in what is now Northern Bavaria, Archaeopteryx -- the oldest bird species yet discovered -- inhabited a subtropical environment characterized by reef islands and lagoons set in a shallow sea that was part of the primordial Mediterranean. All the specimens of Archaeopteryx so far recovered were found in the valley of the Altmühl River, in geological settings that represent this habitat -- the Jurassic Solnhofen Archipelago. The latest find was made there in 2010, and this new specimen has now been analyzed by a team of researchers led by LMU paleontologist Oliver Rauhut, a professor in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences who is also affiliated with the Bavarian State Collections for Paleontology and Geology in Munich. Stratigraphic analysis of the find locality reveals that the fossil is the oldest known representative of the genus Archaeopteryx.

"Specimens of Archaeopteryx are now known from three distinct rock units, which together cover a period of approximately 1 million years," Rauhut explains. Notably, the oldest example exhibits features that were so far not known from the other specimens. "Among other things, they reveal that Archaeopteryx was very similar to advanced predatory dinosaurs in many respects," says Rauhut. Moreover, in the new study, he and his colleagues provide a diagnosis that allows to reliably distinguish Archaeopteryx from its closest relatives, both non-avialan theropod dinosaurs and basal birds. This key will be very valuable, as a whole series of bird-like predatory dinosaurs has been described in recent years, mainly from China, which has greatly complicated the taxonomical classification of the group.

The new specimen is the 12th fossil to be attributed to the genus. However, in a study published in the online journal BMC Evolutionary Biology last year, Rauhut's group reported that the first of these to come to light -- the so-called Haarlem specimen discovered in 1861 -- does not actually belong to the group. This result thus reduces the number of Archaeopteryx fossils to 11, although some doubts remain concerning the assignment of two of these. This underlines the necessity for a diagnosis to clearly identify Archaeopteryx.
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Re: Paleontology: The eleventh Archaeopteryx

Post by Poodle » Sat Jan 27, 2018 11:43 am

Only 12? That shows where assumption gets you. On the basis of no knowledge at all, I thought there were hundreds of the buggers.

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Re: Paleontology: The eleventh Archaeopteryx

Post by Gawdzilla Sama » Sat Jan 27, 2018 11:49 am

Poodle wrote:Only 12? That shows where assumption gets you. On the basis of no knowledge at all, I thought there were hundreds of the buggers.
The count actually went down recently. One specimen was deemed a different species. The scientists have worked on this one for over seven years before making the call.

Still, good news. My relatives at Sterkfontein are thrilled.
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Re: Paleontology: The eleventh Archaeopteryx

Post by Lance Kennedy » Sun Jan 28, 2018 1:16 am

The antievolutionists HATE it. This is such solid evidence of evolution. Almost enough to make a nut case hand it in.

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Re: Paleontology: The eleventh Archaeopteryx

Post by Gawdzilla Sama » Sun Jan 28, 2018 11:49 am

Lance Kennedy wrote:The antievolutionists HATE it. This is such solid evidence of evolution. Almost enough to make a nut case hand it in.
If the issues revolved around facts and the acknowledgement of same, yeah. But being impervious to fact is a stone requirement for belief in God.
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Re: Paleontology: The eleventh Archaeopteryx

Post by Gord » Sun Jan 28, 2018 6:20 pm

Dude there are WAY more than 11: http://www.asterix.com/the-collection/albums/
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