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Scientists unearth ‘most bird-like’ dinosaur ever found

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Researchers in Germany have unearthed a new species of flying dinosaur that flapped its wings like a raven and could hold vital clues as to how modern-day birds evolved from their reptilian ancestors.

For more than a century and a half since its discovery in 1861, Archaeopteryx — a small feathered dinosaur around the size of a crow that lived in marshland around 150 million years ago — was widely considered to be the oldest flying bird.

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Palaeontologists from Ludwig-Maximilians University (LMU) in Munich and the University of Fribourg examined rock formations in the German region of Bavaria, home to nearly all known Archaeopteryx specimens.

They came across a petrified wing, which the team initially assumed to be the same species. They soon found several differences, however.

“There are similarities, but after detailed comparisons with Archaeopteryx and other, geologically younger birds, its fossil remains suggested that we were dealing with a somewhat more derived bird,” said lead study author Oliver Rauhut from LMU’s Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences.

They called the new bird-like dinosaur Alcmonavis poeschli — from the old Celtic word for a nearby river and the scientist who discovered the fossil, excavation leader Roland Poeschl.

The study, published in the journal eLife Sciences, said Alcmonavis poeschli was “the most bird-like bird discovered from the Jurassic”.

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As well as being significantly larger than Archaeopteryx, the new specimen had more notches in its wing bones that pointed to muscles which would have allowed it to actively flap its wings.

Significantly, this “flapping” trait found in Alcmonavis poeschli is present in more recent birds, but not in Archaeopteryx.

“This suggests that the diversity of birds in the late Jurassic era was greater than previously thought,” Rauhut said.

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The discovery is likely to fuel debate among dinosaur experts over whether birds and dinosaurs developed the ability to flap their wings from earlier gliding species.

“Its adaptation shows that the evolution of flight must have progressed relatively quickly,” said Christian Foth, from the University of Fribourg, and a co-author of the research.

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Supreme Court timeline on Trump’s taxes gives time for Manhattan prosecutors to file charges: Former US Attorney

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Former U.S. Attorney Mimi Rocah tweeted a recent report that the U.S. Supreme Court would be taking up President Donald Trump's case to keep his taxes away from investigators.

That case between Trump and Congress invokes a 1924 law that says the Ways and Means Committee has the authority to seek tax returns. Rocah mocked the president for being "so shady, so corrupt, so unlawful, that you’re willing to fight the release of your tax returns all the way to the Supreme Court."

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Trump has spent 50 years trying to live up to his father — now his presidency will forever be stained: MSNBC panelist

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Rev. Al Sharpton said during his MSNBC show Sunday that the legacy of impeachment will forever be a stain on President Donald Trump's presidency. While a Democratic strategist pointed to Trump's history of always falling short.

"The fact is I've known Donald Trump for 35 years," Sharpton said during a panel discussion. "Marched on him after the Central Park Five. Had other times he would try to be a Democrat, would come to our National Action Network conventions. One of the things that is core to him is that he's always fought for legitimacy. He was never looked at as a peer by the legitimate business community in New York and around the country. Now for him to be impeached, even if he's not convicted and removed, it gives him the imprimatur from here out that he's illegitimate. There will always be the asterisk on his name that schoolchildren will read. Is this the reason we're seeing 170-some-odd tweets from Mr. Trump that he is feeling at the core that his legitimacy as a president will be permanently stained?"

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Conservative pens scathing op-ed with sarcastic defense of Republicans’ humiliating hypocrisy

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Conservative columnist Max Boot wasn't shocked when he saw Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) proclaim he had no intention of being an independent juror during President Donald Trump's impeachment trial. The Trump antagonist penned his Sunday column dripping with sarcasm.

His fellow conservative colleague, Jennifer Rubin, similarly said that no one expected anything better from Graham. Boot extended his disdain to the entire Republican Party.

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