Birds evolved in the late JURASSIC, By the end of the CRETACEOUS we already see that , as a bio CLASS had broken into more than half of the 33 orders we see today . These specis are now classed as a member of Maniraptora , sort of "Stem birds" . New thinking is that the maniraptora evolved from reptiles and included the Dromeosaurs.
The stem birds included some "Dinosaur like two leggers" most with feathers . There were four classes of early fossil birds well before these specimens were found. These guys were probably part of the Paleognathids
lines. Weve got about 4 or 5 different species of early birds already existing in the late Jurassic , all of these were like Archeopteryx lithographa. The important thing is that many "stem"species didnt go extinct after a new class appeared, they hung around for tens of millions of years in many cases.(why, is another BS session)
We use to think that mammals were all descendants of stuff like Mormoops or Dimetrodon when it appears that they too were a "stem genera"
Basically, cutting to the bottom line birds evolved WITH dinosaurs, probably not from them.
Thats really what the fossil record shows us and newspapers get it fucked up all the time (I hate science reporters-we should give all science reporting to the sports reporters, who worry about FACTS first and they make up a pretty good story ONLY AFTER THE FACTS ARE IN.) ( Science reporters IMHO do just the opposite.)
BUT anyway- when a new phyla appears we normally first see a "bunching up "of species that could serve as models of intermediaries when , in rality, evolution is a complex reaction more like a BEEF STEW than just a broth. Natural selection, mutation, genetic drift, and adaptive radiation seem to be an interwoven bunch of methods by which species can transfer their "Specie-hood" around. Really, the big news today IMHO, is the modes of transfer of genetic material (and whether evolution even first needs genetic modification ) DOes it follow Lynn Margulis rule of genetic transfer at the microbiome level only, is it a mixed bag, or is it only adaptive (Of which Richard Dawkins seems to be the most vocal ).
I like the news that comes with the fossil record. Fossils are, to me, a TOOL with which we can focus in on searches for specific resources, and here we have a new one. a fossil species that had a wide range and a short time in existence is the BEST at using to quickly ate and place ourselves into a specific environment. The rest i a philosophical/religious argument and is important mostly to people who arent in the field of endeavor.
Jasinski is also the head paleo curator at the Pa STate Museum. Hes always on th road tween Philly and Harrisburg. He wa going to met with us two weeks ago but some other piece of genetic material got in the way. Hes found some really neat fossil fish in the upper Devonian of N Pa .