I like that you have to know some science to get today’s Off the Mark cartoon (by Mark Parisi):
Yes, but in the grand scheme of things, birds and dinosaurs are fairly CLOSE relatives! (But I can see using the word “distant” in light of the guests that have already arrived …)
And of course any organism could be called a distant relative of birds.
Yet http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn13772-t-rex-kinship-with-chickens-confirmed.html#.UpJv-uJN-0g and being descended from in this instance is quite impressive in a genealogical sort of way, quite royal!
Question for someone:- Strictly within the clade Dinosauria are birds the only known flyers?
Yes, you are correct, because pterosaurus are not dinosaurs, though they are archosaurs like dinosaurs and crocodiles.
No, Microraptor was a four winged dinosaur that flew (gliding I suspect but there are papers on this. There were probably others too.
Thanks for that. A quick Google indicates that some people think Microraptor might have represented a “pre-avian” group directly on the line of descent to “birds” ~ i.e. the bird line came from four-winged Microraptors. So I suppose my revised question is…
Within the Dinosauria was flapping flight “discovered” only once, the same as for Mammals [bats]? The *jump* from gliding flying to flapping flying is so costly I would bet we’ll not find an independent “discovery” of flight among the dinos, & no doubt there are many unrecognised Dino gliders in the bone collections ~ since gliding is such a common solution which is much cheaper than flying.
Have a look at the fantastic ‘Tetrapod Zoology’ website of Darren Naish: TetZoo has just done a post on Microraptor
Very interesting! thank you BilBy have subbed to keep up on the latest. Very unlikely to have been a flapper then & flew as well as a lightweight feathered plank.
Well, Alxasaurus is rather avuncular.
Guess who’s coming for dinner…
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