Olson also questions the way Chatterjee has glued and plastered various bones together to construct Protoavis. "He might have made mistakes.
While they don't necessarily accept Protoavis as a bird, these researchers think the animal could lie very close to the origin of birds.
However, he suggests Protoavis had many avian features.
Martin argues that even if Protoavis could not fly, it still pushes back the origin of birds to a time much earlier than Archaeopteryx.
As expected, each camp interprets the Protoavis claim differently.
According to Martin, who has long rejected the dinosaur-bird theory, "Protoavis is partically deadly to the idea that birds evolved from dinosaurs." If Protoavis were indeed a bird or a close relative of one, it would push the origin of birds back into the mid-to late-Triassic, a full 75 million years earlier than scientists have previously estimated.
Gauthier, who sits on the opposite side of the dinosaur-bird debate, finds Protoavis less of a challenge.