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MAKING A WISH ON A DINOSAUR BONE

At Thanksgiving, the person left with the largest piece of the turkey's wishbone gets to wish he hadn't eaten quite so much cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie.

Seventy million years ago, cranberries weren't around, nor were there pumpkins or turkeys. The best you could have done to stuff yourself for Thanksgiving dinner -- and still get a wishbone to split -- would have been to slay a velociraptor dinosaur.

This slicing, dicing star of the movie "Jurassic Park" carried around the same V-shaped furcula, or wishbone, that modern birds do, according to a new study.

Velociraptors belong to the group of dinosaurs known as dromaeosaurids, which have some of the most birdlike bones known. Most paleontologists believe that modern birds evolved from dinosaurs.

Scientists have now found the first furcula of the dromaeosaurids in a velociraptor fossil from Mongolia. A furcula wasn't necessary for the first birds to fly, but the fact that wishbones show up in birdlike dinosaurs strengthens the link between the ancient raptors and the modern ones.

Mark Norell and Peter Makovicky of the American Museum of Natural History in New York City, along with James Clark of George Washington University in Washington, D.C., reported the work in the journal Nature.

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