Ambopteryx Longibrachium

This week’s main story is that of the newly found 163 million year old scansoriopterygid, Ambopteryx Longibrachium. This dinosaur, along with similar Yi Qi, is helping palaeontologists compile a clear picture of the evolution of flight. It defines this bat winged style of flying as a more common sight in the forests of Jurassic China rather than a rare, one species design. As palaeontologist Stephen Brusatte mentions in his book, The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs, maniraptorids evolved many different forms of flight, each unique to their clade. The feathers seem to be predominantly for insulation, except the four rod like tail feathers which would probably have been for intimidation and impressing mates. Two details which interest me the most are the presence of gastroliths (small stones swallowed, that help with the digestion of plant fibres), and the short tail. The gastroliths, as well as the sharp teeth clearly imply that it had an omnivorous diet. The short tail is found in every living bird, and is one reason why many scientists do not consider Archaeoteryx Lithoraphica a true bird. So despite the fact that A.Longibrachium might seem more like a dinosaur than a bird, this short tail might make it more birdlike. However close relative Epidepxipterix Hui has a similar short tail and 4 feather projections. This does make it seem more probable that it was a separate branch that had a characteristic short tail, which was trying an early version of flight.

Neanderthal teeth could destroy the current phylogenetic homonid tree

A new study by Aida Gomez Robles on Neanderthal teeth, may mean that Neanderthals branched off from our ancestors between 200,000 and 400,000 years prior to original theories. Aida Gomez Robles was studying a set of Neanderthal teeth from the Sima de los Huezos site, and using computer modeling from 30 Neanderthal molars and premolars, and several Austrolopithecine, Paranthropus and Homo species, she positioned the split at 800,000 years ago. If her results are proven accurate with further studies, it would mean that Homo Heidelbergensis would have to be ruled out as the ancestor of Neanderthals.


If you do want any paleontological finds or theories discussed in next week’s post leave a comment in the contact section.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s