Rhetoric vs. reality: A commentary on “Bird Origins Anew” by A. Feduccia

  title={Rhetoric vs. reality: A commentary on “Bird Origins Anew” by A. Feduccia},
  author={N. Adam Smith and Luis Mar{\'i}a Chiappe and Julia A. Clarke and Scott V. Edwards and Sterling J. Nesbitt and Mark A. Norell and Thomas A. Stidham and Alan H. Turner and Marcel van Tuinen and Jakob Vinther and Xing Xu},
ABSTRACT Birds are maniraptoran theropod dinosaurs. The evidence supporting the systematic position of Avialae as a derived clade within Dinosauria is voluminous and derived from multiple independent lines of evidence. In contrast, a paucity of selectively chosen data weakly support, at best, alternative proposals regarding the origin of birds and feathers. Opponents of the theory that birds are dinosaurs have frequently based their criticisms on unorthodox interpretations of paleontological… 

FANTASY VS REALITY: A Critique of Smith et al.'s Bird Origins

Adherents of the current orthodoxy of a derivation of birds from theropod dinosaurs, criticize the commentary by Feduccia and numerous papers by Lingham-Soliar using numerous mischaracterizations and misstatements of content, and illustrate their own misconceptions of the nature of the debate.

Fossils with Feathers and Philosophy of Science

It is demonstrated that a variation of Imre Lakatos’s model of progressive versus degenerative research programmes provides a novel and productive assessment of the debate, and established that a refurbished Lakatosian account both explains the intractability of the dispute and predicts a likely outcome for the debate about avian origins.

The Origin of Birds: Current Consensus, Controversy, and the Occurrence of Feathers

Research in the late 1900s has established that birds are theropod dinosaurs, with the discovery of feather preservation in non-avian theropods being the last decisive evidence for the dinosaur

Comparative digestive physiology of archosaurs with notes on bird origins

Coprolites of early archosaurs contain undigested bones, which suggests a short digestion time and higher metabolic rates than in extant crocodiles, and implies reappearance and strong development of a specific stomach functionality that either had been already lost in the theropod dinosaurs or was never present in their lineage.

How Many Dinosaurs Are Birds?

E school child knows that birds are dinosaurs. Numerous magazine articles and popular books on the topic are available. If they report the history of the subject, they say that Thomas Huxley, known

On the purported presence of fossilized collagen fibres in an ichthyosaur and a theropod dinosaur

It is found that there is no evidence to support the idea that the integumentary structures seen in the two taxa are collagen fibres, and it is confirmed that the most parsimonious interpretation of fossilized structures that look like feather homologues in Sinosauropteryx is that they are indeed the remains of featherhomologues.

Taking up the legacy of Waterhouse Hawkins and Owen: art and science for a new Italian project to bring back dinosaurs to life

The new project, which takes up the idea of Waterhouse Hawkins and Owen and their legacy to restore these ancient vertebrates based on solid scientific foundations, represents to date the only way to reanimate these fascinating lost animals.

Anatomy informs geology: Hydrodynamic dispersal of alligator bones, with implications for taphonomic interpretations of fossil deposits of crocodylians, dinosaurs, and other morphologically novel taxa.

Distinctive anatomical features of bones can influence not only how these structures perform in living animals but also the tendency of elements to be transported by flowing water after death. Such

Bird embryos uncover homology and evolution of the dinosaur ankle

The anklebone (astragalus) of dinosaurs presents a characteristic upward projection, the ‘ascending process' (ASC), which originated in early dinosaurs along changes to upright posture and locomotion, revealing an intriguing combination of functional innovation and reversion in its evolution.

A phenology of the evolution of endothermy in birds and mammals

  • B. Lovegrove
  • Environmental Science
    Biological reviews of the Cambridge Philosophical Society
  • 2017
Recent palaeontological data and novel physiological hypotheses now allow a timescaled reconstruction of the evolution of endothermy in birds and mammals. A three‐phase iterative model describing how



Birds are Dinosaurs: Simple Answer to a Complex Problem

The "birds are living dinosaurs" hypothesis dates back almost three decades to when John Ostrom, combining studies of his earlier discovery of the late, early Cretaceous dromaeosaur Deinonychus with his speculations on hot-blooded (endothermic) dinosaurs, presented his new dinosarurian origin of birds theory.

Cladistics and the Origin of Birds: A Review and Two New Analyses

It is asked whether the hypothesis that birds are maniraptoran theropod dinosaurs (the "BMT hypothesis") is as overwhelmingly supported as some claim, and a standard matrix of 46 taxa and 208 characters from a recent paper is re analyzed.


  • R. Prum
  • Biology, Environmental Science
  • 2003
It is concluded that one of the most important frontiers in ornithological research in this century will be the establishment of a thorough scientific understanding of the evolution of avian biology in light of the theropod origin of birds.


G. Heilmann (1926) concluded that birds had evolved from ‘‘thecodonts’’—a polyphyletic garbage bag assemblage of early archosaurs, and his hypothesis was the basis of many scenarios.

The origin and evolution of birds

Ornithologist and evolutionary biologist Alan Feduccia, author of "Age of Birds," here draws on fossil evidence and studies of the structure and biochemistry of living birds to present knowledge and data on avian evolution and propose a model of this evolutionary process.

Theropod Diversity and the Refinement of Avian Characteristics

The similarities between birds and theropods were due to convergence, and that birds were derived from more basal archosaurs that still retain clavicles, which held sway for the next four decades until the discovery and description of the mid-sized dromaeosaurid theropod Deinonychus by Ostrom (1969).

The dinosaurian origin of feathers: perspectives from dolphin (Cetacea) collagen fibers

The early origin of birds is a hotly disputed debate and may be broadly framed as a conflict between paleontologists and ornithologists. The paleontological emphasis has shifted from Archaeopteryx

Phylogenetic relationships among modern birds (Neornithes): towards an avian tree of life

Modem perceptions of the inonophyly of avian higher taxa {modern birds, Neomiihes) and their interrelationships are the legacy uf systematic work undertaken in the 19th century. Before Llie

New specimen of Archaeopteryx provides insights into the evolution of pennaceous feathers

An analysis of the phylogenetic distribution of pennaceous feathers on the tail, hindlimb and arms of advanced maniraptorans and basal avialans strongly indicates that these structures evolved in a functional context other than flight, most probably in relation to display, as suggested by some previous studies.

Avian Ancestors-A Review of the Phylogenetic Relationships of the Theropods Unenlagiidae, Microraptoria, Anchiornis and Scansoriopterygidae.

This book presents some novel results which are important for the reconstruction of this major evolutionary transition to birds and builds one of the largest datasets for the examination of coelurosaurian phylogeny, but their focus is on several recently discovered taxa, such as Unenlagiidae, Microraptoria, Anchiornis and Scansoriopterygidae.