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BBC Wildlife (November 2011)

Bbc flora and fauna journal with the most recent discoveries, perspectives and information on natural world, conservation and environmental concerns, and depended on further-information resources, the journal is excellent for someone with a keenness for the topic

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43 A canny operator, Li had recognized right away that the specimen was unique, so he separated the two slabs (called “part” and “counterpart” by paleontologists) and sold them separately to Ji and his rivals at the Nanjing Institute of Geology and Palaeontology. By chance, Phil Currie, head of dinosaur research at Alberta’s Royal Tyrrell Museum of Paleontology, was visiting the Beijing Museum in early October 1996 and immediately recognized the significance of this new specimen, later named Sinosauropteryx prima (which translates loosely as “the first feathered dinosaur from China”).

This branch lead to modern-­day crocodiles and birds, he concluded, whereas the other major branch (Ornithosuchia) of the reptile tree evolved into the dinosaurs and pterosaurs. Heilmann reasoned that some lineages in the Pseudosuchia branch developed into terrestrial, bipedal runners and some of those eventually into arboreal climbers, then to the common ancestor of Archaeopteryx and modern flying birds. This hypothesis was first proposed by Huxley based on much less evidence. Heilmann had seemingly identified the origin of birds, and for the next forty years his book was the bible for avian paleontology—­a remarkable achievement and one that nobody, apparently, had the knowledge or enthusiasm to challenge.

80 Marey, however, was just getting 29 Chapter 1 30 going and went on to film81 the flights of pigeons, herons, pelicans, ducks, and more gulls. He had some of these photographic images translated into a series of plaster and bronze models so he could examine—­and show off—­the results of his photography in three-­dimensional detail. The results were published in Le Vol des Oiseaux [The Flight of Birds] (Marey 1890), a landmark in the annals of both bird flight and photography. ”82 His first smoke machine had twenty smoke trails that would interact with objects in their path, but the second, built in 1901, had fifty-­ eight and produced the most amazing images, clearly showing the eddies and vortices produced by wings.

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