Flight of Fancy

artist's rendition of fossil Illustrations like this one can be misleading. The fossil that it is meant to represent, Mahakala omnogovae, was discovered without any evidence of feathers. It is being touted as, “a key piece of the evolutionary puzzle of how massive dinosaurs gave rise to today’s comparatively tiny birds“. (See NG article.) Yet this 80 million year old fossil (according to an evolutionary framework) is much younger than Archaeopteryx, a recognizable bird dated around 150 million years. If smaller birds had already been around for 70 million years, shouldn’t they being looking for puzzle pieces previous to archaeopteryx?

For a more in depth look at this fossil and other ‘feathered dinosaurs’ check out Plucking the Dino Bird.

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