A Well-Preserved Archaeopteryx Specimen with Theropod Features

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Science  02 Dec 2005:
Vol. 310, Issue 5753, pp. 1483-1486
DOI: 10.1126/science.1120331

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A nearly complete skeleton of Archaeopteryx with excellent bone preservation shows that the osteology of the urvogel is similar to that of nonavian theropod dinosaurs. The new specimen confirms the presence of a hyperextendible second toe as in dromaeosaurs and troodontids. Archaeopteryx had a plesiomorphic tetraradiate palatine bone and no fully reversed first toe. These observations provide further evidence for the theropod ancestry of birds. In addition, the presence of a hyperextendible second toe blurs the distinction of archaeopterygids from basal deinonychosaurs (troodontids and dromaeosaurs) and challenges the monophyly of Aves.

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