As regular CFZ-watchers will know, for some time Corinna has been doing a column for Animals & Men and a regular segment on On The Track... particularly about out-of-place birds and rare vagrants. There seem to be more and more bird stories from all over the world hitting the news these days so, to make room for them all - and to give them all equal and worthy coverage - she has set up this new blog to cover all things feathery and Fortean.

Monday 22 December 2014

MSU paleontologist contributes to bird origin study

BOZEMAN — A casual conversation in the Japanese city of Fukui led to renowned paleontologists from Montana State University and China publishing a paper together in the Dec. 12 issue of the journal “Science.”

David Varricchio and Xing Xu — who wrote that birds definitely descended from dinosaurs — were attending a conference in Fukui, Japan, last year when they struck up a conversation during one of their breaks, said Varricchio, associate professor in MSU’s Department of Earth Sciences. When Xu told Varricchio about the paper he was writing, Varricchio suggested that he might be able to contribute. Modern birds were thought to have developed from dinosaurs, and Varricchio is an expert on dinosaur reproduction from theropods to birds.

The encounter resulted in Varricchio becoming co-author on the Science paper titled “An integrative approach to understanding bird origins.” Xu is the lead author. Among the other five co-authors is Gregory Erickson, former graduate student of Jack Horner, the curator of paleontology and regents professor of paleontology at MSU’s Museum of the Rockies. Erickson is now in the Department of Biological Science at Florida State University.

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