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An artist's rendition of Haplocheirus sollers  (Source: Portia Sloan)

The skull of the beast shows similarities to its cousins, the ancestors of modern birds. However, the creature's lacks some of the bird-like features of later members of the family, showing that the features likely evolved in parallel in both birds and the related dinosaur group.  (Source:
Newly discovered dinosaur shows that in evolution lightning can and does strike twice

A newly discovered dinosaur in the Alvarezsauridae group has revealed that bird-like features likely evolved twice, both in dinosaurs and in the ancestors to modern birds.  Previously, the group was thought to be ancestors of modern birds, rather than evolutionary cousins. 

Describes Jonah Choiniere from George Washington University in an interview with BBC News,  "Haplocheirus is a transitional fossil.  Previously we thought the Alvarezsauridae were primitive, flightless birds. This discovery shows they're not and that the similarities between them evolved in parallel."

Like birds, the group of dinosaurs has fused wrists and loosely assembled skull bones, leading many paleontologists to believe that they might be the ancestors of birds.  The beasts may also have had feathers, according to analysis in the late 90s and onward.

However, anatomical analysis of a 3-meter long nearly complete skeleton of a new species in the group indicates that the group likely diverged from the line of dinosaurs that evolved into birds, and that the bird-like features emerged in parallel, not in series.  The new skeleton was dubbed Haplocheirus sollers and was found in the China's Gobi desert.  The skeleton was noticed by a member of a team excavating in the orange mudstone beds in the Junggar Basin of the Xinjiang province.  The member saw the pelvis of the dinosaur sticking out of the ground -- and the rest of the skeleton was found soon after.

Professor Choiniere describes, the results of the subsequent analysis, stating, "The rest of the members of this group have really short forelimbs with huge muscle attachments, like body-builder arms. The fossil shows the first step in the evolution of this weird arm and claw."

The new dinosaur is thought to have lived 160 million years ago, making it the oldest member of the family found to date.  Birds and Alvarezsauridae likely split not long before the evolution of the new find, say researchers.  Both group s likely are descended from the bird-footed dinosaurs of the early Jurassic, which include such famous members as the T. Rex and Velociraptor.

The new find likely was primarily an insectivore (as evidenced by its small teeth).  Its small claws were quite agile and would have been ideal for digging, leading researchers to speculate it likely ate termites, which were plentiful in its era and locale.  However, that likely didn't stop the versatile reptile from trying different cuisine. Describes Professor Choiniere, "It may have had a very general diet, tackling smaller animals like lizards, very small mammals and very small crocodile relatives.  It was a lightly built animal and could run very quickly."

The new work was reported in the journal Science.

The truly fascinating thing about this find is that it fuels the theory that in evolution lightning can, and likely will strike twice -- similar designs can evolve in parallel out of a common need.  Thus much of the anatomy in science fiction -- such as teeth on the titular Alien or giant wings and feathers of the flying monsters of Avatar -- may be realistic.  If life is found on other planets similar to Earth, it may show striking similarities as our own planet's fossil record indicates.

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Evolution is a religion
By jahwarrior on 2/1/2010 7:00:03 PM , Rating: 0
Every time a new fossil appears, which I guess can’t be predicted go figure…, the whole theory gets shaken up, evolution doesn’t have a leg to stand on…it is scientifically shot through with holes**, even top evolutionists readily admit that the theory is unproven

““Evolution is unproved and unprovable. We believe it only because* the only alternative is special creation, and that is unthinkable." Sir Arthur Keith

*Evolution is a religion

**Evolution is not proven by science to the contrary modern science disproves evolution, mathematics(10^1800), modern genetics, physics, chemistry all clash with the theory…..atheists thought it was a nice story 150 years ago….. until MODERN SCIENCE destroyed the WHOLE of Darwin’s theory….

RE: Evolution is a religion
By Gzus666 on 2/1/2010 7:42:28 PM , Rating: 3
This is cute. Provide examples. I find it funny your best argument is these abstract and unnamed "scientists" all admit it is unproven. A scientific theory is in fact as close to fact as anything short of Mathematics can be. Evolution is proven time and time again, the theory only brings the facts together in a unified explanation of the phenomenon that is observed. Evolution is observed and a theory was made to help bring that together. Gravity is a theory, yet you would be a mad man to try to argue it. The reason being gravity is an observable phenomenon and the theory brings it together with an explanation that is best at the time. We still have no idea really how gravity works.

Basically you are a tool and the argument is circular with your types. You lie, make up fake "facts" and use logical fallacies to try to sway people to your side of thinking (or lack there of). In all honesty you are a detriment to society and its progress and should probably be disposed of.

RE: Evolution is a religion
By jahwarrior on 2/2/2010 12:03:13 PM , Rating: 2
Mathematics destroys the theory of evolution, for example some geneticists estimate it would take 10^1800 positive mutations for a one cell organism to evolve in to an advanced mammal such as a working within the evolutionary time frame that gives us about 10^17 seconds, its mathematically impossible to have 10^1800 mutations within 10^17 seconds…impossible. Not to mention the fact that only 1 in 1,000 mutations are positive and a majority of the other 999 are negative and harmful to the organism.

There is no mode for the modern theory of evolution….mutations aren’t it…neither is Darwin’s pangenesis…actually science destroys the theory again and again…but again like I said evolution is a religion, it is a religious belief, because people like you believe it no matter what the actual science says… can’t handle the heat so as soon as somebody questions your theory you launch into all sorts of personal attacks and arguments…instead of showing the actual science behind evolution…that’s right because there is none…..Peace

RE: Evolution is a religion
By tmradder on 2/2/2010 12:53:25 PM , Rating: 2
Which geneticists exactly?

RE: Evolution is a religion
RE: Evolution is a religion
By tmradder on 2/2/2010 4:09:56 PM , Rating: 2
You've just cited an M.D. that states 3 SNPs in your genome will kill you. The example used show that three specific SNPs in a very localized (just 5x 10^-7 of the genome) area in your genome has the potential to cause cystic fibrosis. Two completely different things.

I did not see a mention of the number of required mutations to get to a horse. I've taught M.D.s and the lack of scientific knowledge of many of them is astounding...please cite an actual geneticist and not someone pretending to be an authority on the subject.

"I f***ing cannot play Halo 2 multiplayer. I cannot do it." -- Bungie Technical Lead Chris Butcher

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