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The Essence of Huxley



Anchiornis huxleyi, "Huxley's near-bird," was named to specifically honor Thomas Huxley and his dogged support for Darwin's theories of common descent and natural selection, especially when it came to the argument that birds were evolved, not created creatured. Huxley, nicknamed "Darwin's Bulldog" because of this, could not have been better honored except if they'd named a bulldog for him.

It seems exceptional in hindsight that even when the authors who named Anchiornis honored him, they were not prepared for how much it would do so. Subsequent to its naming, a new specimen (shown above) came to light surrounded by a spectacular halo of feathers, including pedal "wings" and even pennaceous feathers on the toes. Moreover, the material shows evidence of preserving color-producing structures on the feathers, enough that sections of red, white, and black are known to a strong degree of certainty. Eventually I'll do something with this idea, but other have already done so, and it's shameful to upstage them.

Moreover, while it was originally considered to be a bird-like fossil that was more like true birds than was, say, dromaeosaurids and troodontids, the more complete specimen (including a skull) shows that it was in fact a troodontid. This indicates that, with Microraptor at the base of dromaeosaurids, both clades of deinonychosaurs (Troodontidae and Dromaeosauridae) had four-winged basal taxa.

Until then, here is the Huxley's (rightfully) near-bird.
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sapiens89's avatar
I have a question: I have remark that youngs raptors and coelurosaurs have a thin tail,why?