SpringerBriefs in Earth System Sciences

Avian Ancestors

A Review of the Phylogenetic Relationships of the Theropods Unenlagiidae, Microraptoria, Anchiornis and Scansoriopterygidae

Authors: Agnolin, Federico, Novas, Fernando E.

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About this book

Although consensus exists among researchers that birds evolved from coelurosaurian theropods, paleontologists still debate the identification of the group of coelurosaurians that most closely approaches the common ancestor of birds. The last 20 years witnessed the discovery of a wide array of avian-like theropods that has considerably amplified the anatomical disparity among deinonychosaurians, some of which resemble Archaeopteryx more than Deinonychus. Among these newly discovered theropods that show remarkable bird-like characteristics are the four-winged theropods Microraptor and Anchiornis, and the unenlagiids Unenlagia, Buitreraptor, and Rahonavis. A bizarre group of minute-sized coelurosaurs, the Scansoriopterygidae, also exhibits some avian similarities that lead some authors to interpret them as more closely related to birds than other dinosaurs. With the aim to explore the phylogenetic relationships of these coelurosaurians and birds, we merged recently published integrative databases, resulting in significant changes in the topological distribution of taxa within Paraves. We present evidence that Dromaeosauridae, Microraptoria, Unenlagiidae, and Anchiornis + Xiaotingia form successive sister taxa of Aves, and that the Scansoriopterygidae are basal coelurosaurians not closely related to birds. The implications in the evolutionary sequence of anatomical characters leading to birds, including the origin of flight, are also considered in light of this new phylogenetic hypothesis.

About the authors

Fernando Emilio Novas is an Argentine paleontologist working for the Comparative Anatomy Department of the Bernardino Rivadavia Natural History Argentine Museum in Buenos Aires. Novas holds a PhD in Natural sciences. Working for the CONICET, he described or co-described many dinosaurs, among them Abelisaurus, Aniksosaurus, Aragosaurus, Austroraptor, Megaraptor, Neuquenraptor, Orkoraptor, Patagonykus, Unenlagia, Araucanoraptor, Skorpiovenator, Tyrannotitan, Talenkauen, and Puertasaurus, most from the Patagonia region of Argentina.

Table of contents (5 chapters)

Buy this book

eBook $34.99
price for USA (gross)
  • ISBN 978-94-007-5637-3
  • Digitally watermarked, DRM-free
  • Included format: EPUB, PDF
  • ebooks can be used on all reading devices
  • Immediate eBook download after purchase
Softcover $49.95
price for USA
  • ISBN 978-94-007-5636-6
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.
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Bibliographic Information

Bibliographic Information
Book Title
Avian Ancestors
Book Subtitle
A Review of the Phylogenetic Relationships of the Theropods Unenlagiidae, Microraptoria, Anchiornis and Scansoriopterygidae
Authors
Series Title
SpringerBriefs in Earth System Sciences
Copyright
2013
Publisher
Springer Netherlands
Copyright Holder
The Author(s)
eBook ISBN
978-94-007-5637-3
DOI
10.1007/978-94-007-5637-3
Softcover ISBN
978-94-007-5636-6
Series ISSN
2191-589X
Edition Number
1
Number of Pages
IX, 96
Number of Illustrations and Tables
12 b/w illustrations, 6 illustrations in colour
Topics