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Has Archaeopteryx fallen off its perch?

When is a bird not a bird? When it's Archaeopteryx. In the 150th anniversary of its discovery, the position of Archaeopteryx as the earliest-known bird has been weakened thanks to the discovery of increasing numbers of feathered, bird-like dinosaurs over the past decade and a half. The discovery of another bird-like dinosaur, described by Xu Xing and colleagues, might be the last straw. Although the analysis is tentative, the report suggests that we are about to enter a new era in which Archaeopteryx is considered as distant from the ancestry of modern birds as dinosaurs such as Deinonychus.

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