Originally published in OMNI Magazine, June 1994 and part of George Olshevsky's article 'The Birds First? A Theory to Fit the Facts'
We are all familiar with the arguments in favour and against the Dinosaur-Bird link. Most Paleontologists today acknowledge that a robin, an ostrich and a chicken are all modern versions of dinosaurs. George Olshevsky went a little bit further... He developed the idea that it is not that birds are modified dinosaurs but dinosaurs are modified birds! He placed the origin of Dinosauria right up in the trees, with the different stages of dinosaur development representing different stages of flightlessness or non-arborealism... That would make sense of the many peculiarities in the anatomical construction of dinosaurs including the fully erect bipedal locomotion and the modifications in the structure of the hand. This would include also the development of pre-feathers, dawn feathers and feathers. In my opinion it would also have a lot to do with the development of a more warmblooded metabolism... But that's another story! Despite the lack of some critical fossils to prove the theory, I have always admired the common sense and elegance of Olshevsky's theory and I think it is going to be completely vindicated as more and more fossils come to light filling the gaps. I made this reconstruction based on his arguments long before the discovery of Sinosauropteryx, the new and famous 'feathered' dinosaur. Even if anatomically it is obviously not the same animal, it has many features in common. For more information on Olshevsky's publications contact Dinogeorge@aol.com or go to http://members.aol.com/Dinogeorge/index.html/