STL Science Center

STL Science Center

16 January 2012

Archaeopteryx on Film

There are many religious arguments on the internet in documentary form. That's not going to show up here, because this is not a religious forum. Therefore, I do not wish to offend anyone, but there will be no arguments for or against Creationism and therefore, I shall not show any videos that argue for or against the theories. Please, in searching for videos of Archaeopteryx, be very careful what you watch and take in as fact because there is, in fact, a great deal of argument between both camps and, as with any religion based argument, there is a great deal of bigotry and condescending speech on both sides of the argument.

Archaeopteryx, the much discussed and debated proto-bird, or dinosaur, or just a plain old bird, depending on the viewpoint, has shown up on countless reels of film now. It has been discussed by various sources so many times that it's a knee deep pool of video I have to wade through to bring out the real gems. There are plenty of so-so, and even awful, documentaries on Archaeopteryx. During July of 2011, however, to start with, one particular study buzzed that Archaeopteryx was no longer considered the oldest bird by the researchers. Xing Xu of Linyi University in China explains the research in this clip from The Guardian paper. What it claims, in the end, is that Archaeopteryx was just another feathered dinosaur and that the oldest true bird, or proto-bird, was actually one of three possible candidates: Epidexipteryx, Jeholornis or Sapeornis and that Archaeopteryx is actually nothing more than another deinonychosaur. Should that prove to be the case, it would be an amazing discovery and shake the family tree like an earthquake! This earlier clip shows the opposite opinion that Archaeopteryx is, indeed, an early bird.

Months before Xing Xu and Larry Witmer's article in The Guardian Uwe Bergmann, a scientist working at Stanford's SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, gave a lecture on Archaeopteryx for the public. Dr. Bergmann's role in studying 2 of the 11 specimens was in working with x-rays and looking for chemicals in the fossils, as discussed on Saturday's post. Dr. Bergmann's lecture, a little over an hour long, is extremely educational and fascinating and well worth watching, if you can stomach lecture:

Just to finish, Pete Larson does a really good job in describing the Thermopolis Specimen which is housed at his place of employment, the Wyoming Dinosaur Center in Thermopolis, Wyoming.

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