BOOK REVIEW


Cretaceous Reverie: Review of Birds of Stone: Chinese Avian Fossils from the Age of Dinosaurs by Luis M. Chiappe and Meng Qingjin1



Alan Feduccia*
Department of Biology, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina 27599-3280, United States of America


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© 2018 Alan Feduccia.

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/legalcode). This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Department of Biology, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina 27599-3280, United States of America; Tel: 919-942-3377; E-mail: feduccia@bio.unc.edu


Abstract

Birds of Stone contains a portfolio of outstanding photographs of the spectacularly preserved Jehol bird fossils, from the Chinese Lower Cretaceous, and other pertinent vertebrate fossils of varying ages, along with comments on each fossil. The book nicely illustrates a range of species of the radiation of enantiornithines (opposite birds), the dominant Mesozoic landbirds, as well as the ornithuromorphs, the Mesozoic antecedents of the modern neornithine birds. Although the first section of the book is fairly straight forward, the second section, on bird origins and their early evolution is one-sided, presenting only the popular paleontological view and omits discussion of controversial subjects. Examples are the highly speculative presence of dinosaur protofeathers and improbable scenarios of flight origins. There are no citations of the numerous credible opposing views in the literature.

Keywords: Cretaceous, Enantiornithine, Anchiornis, Caudipteryx, Confuciusornis, Microraptor, Protofeathers, Jehol biota.