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Bird in the hand

Fossilized fingers strengthen evolutionary link between dinosaurs and avian relatives

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3:52pm, June 17, 2009

The hands of a newly discovered dinosaur species provide fresh support for the notion that birds are closely related to dinosaurs, researchers say.

Many paleontologists contend that theropods — a group of bipedal dinosaurs that, with rare exception, dined on meat — didn’t die out 65 million years ago with the rest of their kin. Analyses, those scientists say, show that this group lived on and gave rise to modern-day birds. But hardcore skeptics of that theory have long noted that the bone arrangement in birds’ wings doesn’t match the arrangement of bones in the hands of dinosaurs, says James M. Clark,

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