Avian Evolution: The Fossil Record of Birds and its by Gerald Mayr

By Gerald Mayr

Wisdom of the evolutionary historical past of birds has a lot stronger in fresh a long time. Fossils from serious time sessions are being defined at unparalleled premiums and sleek phylogenetic analyses have supplied a framework for the interrelationships of the extant teams. This ebook supplies an outline of the avian fossil checklist and its paleobiological value, and it's the simply updated textbook that covers either Mesozoic and extra modern-type Cenozoic birds in a few aspect. The reader is brought to key positive aspects of basal avians and the morphological alterations that experience happened within the evolution in the direction of sleek birds. An account of the Cenozoic fossil list sheds gentle at the biogeographic background of the extant avian teams and discusses fossils within the context of present phylogenetic hypotheses. This evaluation of the evolutionary background of birds not just addresses scholars and confirmed researchers, however it can also be an invaluable resource of data for somebody else with an curiosity within the evolution of birds and a reasonable historical past in biology and geology.

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Additional resources for Avian Evolution: The Fossil Record of Birds and its Paleobiological Significance

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8 Detail of the right foot of the Thermopolis specimen of Archaeopteryx (left) and the dromaeosaur Velociraptor (mounted cast). Note the dorsally bulging distal end of the first phalanx of the second toe (arrows; the phalanx is highlighted by a dotted line in Velociraptor), which is a characteristic of hyperextensible toes. It is to be hoped that future studies will also identify unequivocal apomorphies that better characterize the clades near the base of Aves. 7). Feather Evolution Feathers are among the most characteristic attributes of birds and display a wide variety of morphologies, from the archetypical pennaceous ones to the more fluffy down feathers, and from striking ornamental appendages to hair-like eyelashes.

10; Zhang and Zhou 2004; Longrich 2009; Zheng et al. 2013a). In other early avians with preserved plumage remains, such as jeholornithids and confuciusornithids, “hindlimb wings” have not been reported, and the hypothesis that such feathers are primitive for birds is therefore only weakly based. 10 Hindlimb feathers of Archaeopteryx from the Late Jurassic of Germany (11th specimen). Photograph by Oliver Rauhut and Helmut Tischlinger. 36 THE ORIGIN OF BIRDS 1935), and on a molecular level feathers and scales can be transformed into each other by differential gene expression patterns (Zheng et al.

The minor digit of Similicaudipteryx, by contrast, has the full phalangeal count and is not reduced. Caudipterygids exhibit modern-type pennaceous forelimb and tail feathers. However, they were clearly flightless, because the forelimb feathers are much too short to have provided enough lift for these fairly large animals to have become airborne. Unlike in volant birds, the vanes of the forelimb feathers of caudipterygids are furthermore not asymmetric. In Caudipteryx they only insert on the proximal section of the hand, and the fingers seem to have been free of long feathers.

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