Cranial anatomy and relationships of a new Triassic bird from Texas

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The oldest known fossil bird from the Dockum formation of Texas, provides insights into the anatomy, evolution and phylogenetic relationships of early birds. In life, this adult bird was about the size of a pheasant (Phasianus) counting its long bony tail. Many characters of the skull show that the Texas species is more closely related to other birds than to any known group of archosaurs. Numerical cladistic analysis of 30 cranial characters generated a hypothesis of the phylogenetic pattern of early avian evolution. Phylogenetic analysis suggests that theropods shared a common ancestry with birds, but it is indeterminate from the fossil record whether or not the immediate common ancestor itself was a theropod. -from Author

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)277-342
Number of pages66
JournalPhilosophical Transactions - Royal Society of London, B
Issue number1265
StatePublished - 1991


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