Friday, January 13, 2017


Again we see that Paraves are not like dinosaurs.

The relative length and diameter of the humerus in several theropod taxa. We use
the ratios of humeral length to femoral length, and humeral diameter to femoral diameter, as
indicators of forelimb length and robustness. Relative to the femur, the humerus is
significantly longer and thicker in basal paravians than in non-paravian theropods, derived
dromaeosaurids and troodontids (the relatively short and slender forelimbs in the last two
groups are secondarily evolved according to the current phylogenetic analysis).

The discovery of Xiaotingia further demonstrates that many features
previously regarded as distinctively avialan actually characterize the
more inclusive Paraves. For example, proportionally long and robust
forelimbs are optimized in our analysis as a primitive character state
for the Paraves (see Supplementary Information). The significant
lengthening and thickening of the forelimbs indicates a dramatic shift
in forelimb function at the base of the Paraves, which might be related
to the appearance of a degree of aerodynamic capability. This hypothesis
is consistent with the presence of flight feathers with asymmetrical
vanes in both basal avialans and basal deinonychosaurs6,23

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