New Perspectives on the Origin and Early Evolution of Birds

Proceedings of the international symposium in honor of John H. Ostrom

Jacques Gauthier and Lawrence F. Gall, Editors

613 pages, 156 figures, 13 tables,13 appendices, index.
ISBN 0-912532-57-2 | $49.00

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Contents | Phylogeny of Feathered Dinosaurs
Evolution of Feathered Dinosaurs | Controversial Topics in Bird Origins
Appendices from selected papers in the published proceedings are available below as PDF files (requires Acrobat Reader)



This Yale Peabody Museum Special Publication includes papers presented by leading researchers in paleontology and ornithology at the historic 2-day international conference of the same name, held in New Haven, Connecticut, on February 13 and 14, 1999, along with additional papers not presented at the symposium, for a total of 31 articles. The conference was held in conjunction with the exhibition China’s Feathered Dinosaurs, which showcased the fossil specimens of feathered theropods discovered in Liaoning Province, People’s Republic of China.

Sponsored by Yale’s Department of Geology and Geophysics and the Yale Peabody Museum, this historic international symposium was designed to place these discoveries in the larger context of current paleontological and evolutionary thought. These papers provide diverse perspectives along with an overview of the central issues and current controversies in vertebrate paleontology that address the transition from feathered to flying to crown dinosaurs. Topics covered include: taxonomy, cladistics, systematics, evolutionary theory, theropod phylogeny, functional morphology, flight origins and aerodynamics, bird anatomy, vertebrate physiology, molecular and behavioral studies, geochronology and stratigraphy. The symposium honored Yale Professor and Curator Emeritus John H. Ostrom, whose pioneering work made the relationship of birds among theropod dinosaurs a central theme in late 20th century paleontology and inspired a renaissance in dinosaur studies.



Symposium Participants
Foreword Peter Wellnhofer
Introduction Jacques Gauthier


Phylogeny of Feathered Dinosaurs

Definitions of Taxon Name Aves

Feathered dinosaurs, flying dinosaurs, crown dinosaurs, and the name “Aves”
Jacques Gauthier • Kevin de Queiroz

How can we define a feathered dinosaur as a bird?
Ji Qiang • Ji Shu-an


Phylogeny of Coelurosauria

Phylogenetic relationships among coelurosaurian theropods
Appendices [PDF 72KB]
Mark A. Norell • James M. Clark • Peter J. Makovicky

Alvarezsaurids: Birds or ornithomimosaurs?
Paul C. Sereno

Arctometatarsalia revisited: The problem of homoplasy
in reconstructing theropod phylogeny
Appendices [PDF 24KB]
Thomas R. Holtz, Jr.


Phylogeny of Flying Dinosaurs

Phylogenetic relationships among basal birds
Appendices [PDF 40KB]
Luis M. Chiappe


Phylogeny of Living Dinosaurs

The basal clades of modern birds
Appendices [PDF 37KB]
Joel Cracraft • Julia Clarke

Morphological and molecular support for nonmonophyly of the Galloanserae
Appendix [PDF 23KB]
Per G.P. Ericson • Thomas J. Parsons • Ulf S. Johansson


Evolution of Feathered Dinosaurs


The beginnings of feathers
Alan H. Brush

Evolutionary implications of possible protofeather structures
associated with a specimen of Shuvuuia deserti
Mary Higby Schweitzer


Flight: The Origin of Flight

Methods of inferring unknown aspects of organisms
and the behavioral origins of bird flight
E. Nicholas Arnold

Ecomorphology of avian and nonavian theropod phalangeal proportions: Implications for the arboreal versus terrestrial origin of bird flight
Appendices [PDF 39KB]
James A. Hopson

Flight capability and habits of Confuciusornis
Zhonghe Zhou • James O. Farlow

Stages in the origin of bird flight: Beyond the arboreal-cursorial dichotomy
Kevin Padian


Flight: Form and Function

Forelimb shape and the evolution of birds
Gareth J. Dyke • Jeremy M. V. Rayner

The wrist of Allosaurus (Saurischia: Theropoda), with observations
on the carpus in theropods
Daniel J. Chure

The function of the manus and forelimb of Deinonychus antirrhopus
and its importance for the origin of avian flight
Alan D. Gishlick

The function of the supracoracoideus muscle during takeoff
in the European Starling (Sturnus vulgaris): Maxheinz Sy revisited
Alan J. Sokoloff • Jennifer Gray-Chickering • Jason D. Harry
Samuel O. Poore • George E. Goslow, Jr.

The evolutionary history of the theropod caudal locomotor module
Stephen M. Gatesy


Flight: Biophysics of Flight

Why thrust and ground effect are more important than lift
in the evolution of sustained flight
Phillip Burgers • Kevin Padian

On the origin and evolution of flapping flight aerodynamics in birds
Jeremy M. V. Rayner


Growth and Physiology

A new perspective on the origin of endothermy
Colleen G. Farmer

The bone histology of basal birds in phylogenetic and ontogenetic perspectives
Armand de Ricqles • Kevin Padian • John R. Horner


Archosaur Respiratory Systems

Functional morphology of the reptilian and avian respiratory systems
and its implications for theropod dinosaurs
Steven F. Perry

Respiratory structure and function in theropod dinosaurs and some related taxa
Terry D. Jones • John A. Ruben

Were the respiratory complexes of predatory dinosaurs like crocodilians or birds?
Gregory S. Paul

Controversial Topics in Bird Origins

The false issues of bird origins: An historiographic perspective
Kevin Padian

Naive falsification and the origin of birds
Peter J. Makovicky • Gareth J. Dyke

Time and trees: A quantitative assessment of temporal congruence
in the bird origins debate
Christopher A. Brochu • Mark A. Norell

The role of Protoavis in the debate on avian origins
Lawrence M. Witmer

Biostratigraphy and avian origins in northeastern China
Appendix [PDF 75KB] | Literature Cited [PDF 112KB]
Joshua B. Smith • Jerald D. Harris • Gomaa I. Omar • Peter Dodson • You Hailu