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Phylogenetic placement, developmental trajectories and evolutionary implications of a feathered dinosaur tail in Mid-Cretaceous amber

Published on Mar 1, 2017in Current Biology 9.25
· DOI :10.1016/j.cub.2017.01.029
Markus Lambertz6
Estimated H-index: 6
(University of Bonn)
Abstract
Summary In a recent report in Current Biology , Xing and colleagues [1] present a small fragment of a vertebrate tail preserved in amber that bears integumentary appendages (DIP-V-15103, Dexu Institute of Paleontology, Chaozhou, China; Figure 1). Following several analyses using cutting-edge technology the authors conclude that: the tail belongs to a non-avian theropod dinosaur (non-avialan according to the authors, but non-avian used synonymously here); the dinosaur most likely was a member of the Coelurosauria, possibly even Maniraptora; and, the integumentary appendages are feathers that support a barbule-first evolutionary pattern for feathers. DIP-V-15103 is indeed an intriguing specimen with potential implications for contributing to understanding the evolution of feathers among dinosaurs, which remains a current and undoubtedly controversial topic [2,3]. However, I would like to raise several concerns about the available evidence for the phylogenetic hypothesis concerning the placement of DIP-V-15103 as concluded by Xing and colleagues [1], and furthermore discuss the developmental trajectories predicted by them in light of their far-reaching evolutionary implications.
  • References (7)
  • Citations (2)
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References7
Newest
Published on Dec 1, 2016in Current Biology 9.25
Lida Xing18
Estimated H-index: 18
(China University of Geosciences),
Ryan C. McKellar5
Estimated H-index: 5
(University of Regina)
+ 11 AuthorsAlexander P. Wolfe47
Estimated H-index: 47
(University of Alberta)
Summary In the two decades since the discovery of feathered dinosaurs [1–3], the range of plumage known from non-avialan theropods has expanded significantly, confirming several features predicted by developmentally informed models of feather evolution [4–10]. However, three-dimensional feather morphology and evolutionary patterns remain difficult to interpret, due to compression in sedimentary rocks [9, 11]. Recent discoveries in Cretaceous amber from Canada, France, Japan, Lebanon, Myanmar, an...
32 Citations Source Cite
Published on Apr 1, 2015in Evolution 3.82
Walter S. Persons2
Estimated H-index: 2
(University of Alberta),
Philip J. Currie50
Estimated H-index: 50
(University of Alberta)
Over the course of the last two decades, the understanding of the early evolution of feathers in nonavian dinosaurs has been revolutionized. It is now recognized that early feathers had a simple form comparable in general structure to the hairs of mammals. Insight into the prevalence of simple feathers throughout the dinosaur family tree has gradually arisen in tandem with the growing evidence for endothermic dinosaur metabolisms. This has led to the generally accepted opinion that the early fea...
14 Citations Source Cite
Markus Lambertz6
Estimated H-index: 6
(University of Bonn),
Steven F. Perry24
Estimated H-index: 24
(University of Bonn)
Abstract The sternum is a central part of the avian skeleton and, among other functions, it serves as a key element of their locomotor apparatus by providing the origin site for the primary flight musculature. Understanding the evolutionary history of the sternum is critical for understanding the origin of active flight: a fundamental characteristic of one of the most diverse extant tetrapod lineages. It recently has been proposed that the sternal elements in extinct basal bird radiations may no...
7 Citations Source Cite
Published on Dec 19, 2014in Science 41.06
Marie-Claire Koschowitz2
Estimated H-index: 2
(University of Göttingen),
Markus Lambertz6
Estimated H-index: 6
(University of Bonn)
+ 1 AuthorsP Martinsander32
Estimated H-index: 32
(University of Bonn)
Mayr questions the plausibility of our hypothesis that structural color signaling was the initial selective advantage in the evolution of pennaceous feathers. Our hypothesis is grounded in the accepted phylogenetic framework for theropods, which shows that pennaceous feathers evolved before flight
3 Citations Source Cite
Published on Apr 1, 2011in Journal of Morphology 1.71
Christian Foth11
Estimated H-index: 11
Institut fu¨r Biowissenschaften/Allgemeine & Spezielle Zoologie, Universita¨t Rostock,Universita¨tsplatz 2, Rostock 18055, GermanyABSTRACT Avian neoptile feathers are defined as thefirst feather generation, which covers the chick afterhatching, and usually described as simple structuresconsisting of numerous downy barbs which are radiallysymmetrically arranged and come together in a shortcalamus. In contrast, in some birds (e.g., Anas platyr-hynchos, Dromaius novaehollandiae) the neoptile feath-er...
5 Citations Source Cite
Published on Apr 1, 2010in Nature 41.58
Xing Xu41
Estimated H-index: 41
,
Xiaoting Zheng15
Estimated H-index: 15
(Chinese Academy of Sciences),
Hai-Lu You20
Estimated H-index: 20
Study of two specimens of the feathered dinosaur Similicaudipteryx shows that the morphology of dinosaur feathers changed dramatically as the animals matured. Moreover, the morphology of feathers in dinosaurs was much more varied than one would expect from looking at feathers in modern birds.
91 Citations Source Cite
Published on Dec 15, 1999in Journal of Experimental Zoology 2.43
Richard O. Prum46
Estimated H-index: 46
(University of Kansas)
Avian feathers are a complex evolutionary novelty characterized by structural diversity and hierarchical development. Here, I propose a functionally neutral model of the origin and evolutionary diversification of bird feathers based on the hierarchical details of feather development. I propose that feathers originated with the evolution of the first feather follicle—a cylindrical epidermal invagination around the base of a dermal papilla. A transition series of follicle and feather morphologies ...
222 Citations Source Cite
Cited By2
Newest
Published on Mar 1, 2017in Current Biology 9.25
Lida Xing18
Estimated H-index: 18
(China University of Geosciences),
Ryan C. McKellar5
Estimated H-index: 5
(University of Regina)
+ 11 AuthorsAlexander P. Wolfe47
Estimated H-index: 47
(University of Alberta)
Summary In his correspondence, Markus Lambertz [1] raises some concerns about the phylogenetic placement and feather development of DIP-V-15103, the amber-entombed tail section that we recently reported [2] as fragmentary remains of a non-pygostylian coelurosaur (likely within the basal part of Coelurosauria). We here would like to respond to these concerns.
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