28 February 2014
Almost Birds... Again
I discuss birds a lot. It is kind of my thing (along with plesiosaurs). This week, traveling to Madagascar, in our minds, we will look at another kind of near bird. Small dromaeosaurids like Rahonavis ostromi are interesting little animals. Animals like this are difficult to diagnose as either birds or dromaeosaurs. Rahonavis does not have a raging battle surrounding it in this regard, but is debated in these terms. Quill knobs on the ulna make it very bird-like. Large sickle shaped claws on the hindlimbs make it more dromaeosaurid-like. Somehow, however, this border straddling dino-bird has escaped many of the arguments of pro evolution and anti evolution debaters. The name is Malagasy based, meaning "Cloud menace bird", and the toothed little dino-bird may be related to Archaeopteryx.