Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Microraptor Gui: The Dinosaur with Four Wings :: Anthropology Essays Paleontology Papers

Microraptor Gui: The Dinosaur with Four Wings Knowing that pterodactyls belong to a separate group of reptiles than dinosaurs, the thought of a dinosaur with wings may seem somewhat strange. But a fairly recent archeological find adds an extra detail to make this idea truly bizarre: a dinosaur with four wings. Microraptor gui, discovered by Xing Xu and colleagues, is believed to be a kind of missing link between strictly ground-dwelling dinosaurs and birds, namely Archaeopteryx, the earliest known creature to be considered a bird. While there can be no debate over the discovery itself, the implications made from its discovery haven’t been entirely accepted, with many arguing them altogether. Besides being an oddity, what makes this particular find so significant? What are these implications that have riled some scientists up, and what is it that these experts argue? Before any sort of discussion on the debate of what M. gui implies, however, the details of this odd reptile’s discovered fossils should be given. Through past research and findings, the leading theory on the origin of birds traces them back to dinosaurs, more specifically a type of bipedal dinosaur called theropods. Within this group of mostly carnivorous dinosaurs are the dromaeosaurids, and they specifically are believed to be the closest dinosaur ancestors of birds. The discovered fossils of the dramaeosaurid M. gui form of a nearly complete skeleton, and it’s been compared with a similar, previously discovered Microraptor skeleton. The place of M. gui’s discovery was Dapingfang, Chaoyang County in western Liaoning, China, also known as the Jiufotang Formation_. Xu and colleagues declare the fossils to be dated from the early Cretaceous period (about 124 - 128 million years ago_)_ through others’ radiometric dating and biostratagraphical correlations of that region_. Interestingly, the closest ancestors of many of the dinosaurs found within this area of China are believed to have lived not during the early Cretaceous, but the late Jurassic_. Paleogeographers have theorized that this area was thoroughly isolated during the very late Jurassic and into the early Cretaceous_. With paleontologists theorizing that Archaeopteryx came into existence 25 million years before the dated existence of these M. gui fossils_, M. gui i s still believed to be a basal dromaeosaurid, meaning that it’s one of the earliest of this type of theropod, maintaining that these fossils are of an ancestor to Archaeopteryx and all birds.

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