A new Jurassic scansoriopterygid and the loss of membranous wings in theropod dinosaurs

  title={A new Jurassic scansoriopterygid and the loss of membranous wings in theropod dinosaurs},
  author={Min Wang and Jingmai K. O’Connor and Xing(徐星) Xu and Zhonghe Zhou},
Powered flight evolved independently in vertebrates in the pterosaurs, birds and bats, each of which has a different configuration of the bony elements and epidermal structures that form the wings1,2. Whereas the early fossil records of pterosaurs and bats are sparse, mounting evidence (primarily from China) of feathered non-avian dinosaurs and stemward avians that derive primarily from the Middle–Upper Jurassic and Lower Cretaceous periods has enabled the slow piecing together of the origins… 
Feather Evolution in Pennaraptora
The origin and early evolution of complex feathers and flight abilities in paravian theropods were not linear processes, but more complex than previously thought.
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The results show that the Scansoriopterygidae are not models for the early evolution of bird flight and that their structurally distinct and inefficient wings differed greatly from contemporaneous paravians including the earliest birds.
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It is hypothesized that the fused scapulocoracoid of Confuciusornis is secondarily evolved and suggest the primary factor responsible for this morphology may have been a decrease in mechanical stimulation at the glenoid ofconfuciusORNis relative to other volant birds, linked to the unique flight style of this taxon.
‘Dinosaur-bird’ macroevolution, locomotor modules and the origins of flight
The most relevant aspects of limb morphological transformation during the so-called ‘dinosaur-bird’ transition are reviewed to stress the importance of assessing the role of modularity and morphological integration in such macroevolutionary transition, which ultimately involves the origins of flight in dinosaurs.
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This research indicates that with a large enough wing span, Caudipteryx-like animal could have flown, and mathematically confirms that during the evolution of energetically efficient powered flight in derived maniraptorans, body weight had to decrease and wing area/wing profile needed to increase together with the flapping angle and surface area for the attachment of the flight muscles.
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A bizarre Jurassic maniraptoran theropod with preserved evidence of membranous wings
Documentation of the unique forelimbs of Yi greatly increases the morphological disparity known to exist among dinosaurs, and highlights the extraordinary breadth and richness of the evolutionary experimentation that took place close to the origin of birds.
A bony-crested Jurassic dinosaur with evidence of iridescent plumage highlights complexity in early paravian evolution
A distinctive new Yanliao theropod species bearing prominent lacrimal crests, bony ornaments previously known from more basal theropods, and a suite of unusual skeletal and feather characteristics consistent with proposed rapid character evolution and significant diversity in signalling and locomotor strategies near bird origins.
A new feathered maniraptoran dinosaur fossil that fills a morphological gap in avian origin
Recent fossil discoveries have substantially reduced the morphological gap between non-avian and avian dinosaurs, yet avians including Archaeopteryx differ from non-avian theropods in their limb
A bizarre Jurassic maniraptoran from China with elongate ribbon-like feathers
This finding shows that a member of the avialan lineage experimented with integumentary ornamentation as early as the Middle to Late Jurassic, and provides further evidence relating to this aspect of the transition from non-avian theropods to birds.
Palaeontology: Dinosaur up in the air
  • K. Padian
  • Environmental Science, Geography
  • 2015
The tiny animal, from 160 million-year-old sediments in China, has an unusual assortment of stiff filamentous feathers and also two long bony elements attached to the wrists, unlike anything seen previously in any dinosaur.
A Review of Dromaeosaurid Systematics and Paravian Phylogeny
This study provides the most detailed and comprehensive phylogenetic analysis of paravians to date in order to explore the phylogenetic history of dromaeosaurid taxa and reviews and revises the membership of DromaeOSauridae and provides an apomorphy-based diagnosis for all valid taxa.
Rates of dinosaur limb evolution provide evidence for exceptional radiation in Mesozoic birds
  • R. BensonJ. Choiniere
  • Environmental Science, Biology
    Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
  • 2013
A Cretaceous adaptive radiation of stem-group birds was enabled by restructuring of the terrestrial locomotor module, which represents a key innovation and illustrates the importance of fossil data for understanding the macroevolutionary processes generating modern biodiversity.
Fossilized melanosomes and the colour of Cretaceous dinosaurs and birds
It is reported that melanosomes (colour-bearing organelles) are not only preserved in the pennaceous feathers of early birds, but also in an identical manner in integumentary filaments of non-avian dinosaurs, thus refuting recent claims that the filaments are partially decayed dermal collagen fibres.
A juvenile coelurosaurian theropod from China indicates arboreal habits
It is suggested that the initial appearance of tree-adaptation in theropods was probably not directly related to flight but to other functions, such as seeking food or escaping from predators.