The longed godfather of all birds may lose its top position as Chinese scientists looks closer at the relationship between the prehistoric bird with dinosaurs. The Archaeopteryx has long been a researched species that opened the doors to the origins of modern day birds.
Dr. Xing Xu and his group claims that Archaeopteryx may not be considered a bird but rather a flying Theropod in an article that was published in Nature Magazine. The team from the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing, compared fossil specimens in order to hypothesize that birds and non avian dinosaurs possess similar attributes. The findings show that the Archaeopteryx may perhaps fall under the family of Theropods rather than the avian bird group.
Scientists have questioned the proper categorization of Archaeopteryx due to its teeth and bony tail which appears reptilian. Other findings such as the structure of its skull, forelimbs, and hind feet claws offer additional evidence that a closer group called Deinonychosaurs, may be a better categorization for Archaeopteryx.
Though the Archaeopteryx possessed feathers, the comparison of fossils would still place birds in the same regard as dinosaurs. A lineage of dinosaurs were known to have grown feathers throughout its body particularly longer prominent ones along the forearms.
Dr. Xing Xu and his colleagues warn that the findings are still weak and that further data will be required in order to strengthen the hypothesis. If the findings are true, the Archeopteryx could be welcomed as the newest member into the Dinosaurs classification joining others such as the Psittacosaurus, Albertonykus, and Dromaeosaur. Never heard of these Dinosaurs before?
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