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A load of questions



Hello!

I joined the list a few weeks ago and just lurked and watched. So now I 
gathered up my courage to let go with a small barrage of questions, that
sort of occurr to me every morning when taking a shower. :)

Note, I am a computer professional and dinosaurs (and general mesozoic
paleontology) is just a hobby, so please bear with me, when I get all the
terms wrong. I have been "out of contact" with the whole matter for years
(decades?) and am still awestruck whenever I read and hear how much has 
changed.

Anyway, nuff said, here goes:

- Whatever happened to Segosaurus' "second brain"?

        I recall that when I was a kid, there was this notion of stegosaurus
        having such a small brain that it needed some extra nerval support
        in its spine to move the hindlegs. While I understand that such an
        old notion may be silly today, I wonder why it is that you don't even
        read about it anymore, along the lines of "theories that didn't make 
it".
        One can still read about the old ideas of sauropods living in water
        to carry their weight, and Parasaurolophus using it crest as a snorkel,
        but Stegosaurus' "auxiliary brain" seems gone.

- Protoavis and birds=dinosaurs, dinosaurs->birds or dinosaurs!=birds

        Is there any up-to-date information and newest theories on the
        significance of Protoavis and what it means for the relationships
        and evolution of reptiles, birds and dinosaurs? The "latest" information
        I have available is from Don Lessems "Dinosaurs Rediscovered", which,
        although the book isn't that old, the information in it, concerning
        the findings and theories of whats-his-name Chatterjee(sp?) is from
        1989-1991.
        Have his results been confirmed and has the whole theory of birds
        being either descendants or even birds *being* dinosaurs, been revised?
        Have there been newer findings on Protoavis? *Is* there in fact such
        a creature or was it just a case of multiple dinosaurs having been
        erroneously put together as one animal?

- What is a Utahraptor?

        In the wake of the JP movie and its wrong depiction of Velociraptor
        (and even for Deinonychus the dromaeosaurids in the movie were "a bit"
        too large) I have heard some people say "ah, but they were really
        Utahraptors".
        I haven't been able to find *anything* on that beast, except for a
        bit of responded-to mail on the Compuserve Dino Forum.

- What is the latest theory on dinosaur beginnings?

        The "recent" info I have is that the Herrerasaurids and Staurikosaurids
        are the earliest dinosaurs and may have been the forbears from which
        the Saurischians and Ornitischians branched off.

        Is that still considered gospel? Is SOuth America to dinosaurs what
        East Africa is to the evolution of man?

- Where do I get more, more, more information that is up to date?

        I just leave that question in. I hope to join the Dinosaur Society
        soon and look forward to their newletters that will hopefully have
        answers to lots of my other questions.

I appreciate this mailling-list very much - though I wish there were a 
newsgroup.
Some of the discussions in here are a bit beyond me, but I prefer that to the
sadly a bit over-simplistic discussions on Compuserve - which are as often as
not "infiltrated" by creationists.

Looking forward to any information you can flood me with, and expecting to be
left even more confused than before! :-)

Cheers
Mike

-- 
Mike Hoffmann - Internet Administrator, Siemens-Nixdorf AG, SNI AP 1133
INTERNET: Mike.Hoffmann@mch.sni.de
"... there are about 5000 people who are part of that commitee. These guys have
a hard time sorting out what day to meet, and whether to eat croissants or
doughnuts for breakfast - let alone how to define how all these complex layers
are going to be agreed upon." (Craig Burton in "Network World" on OSI (1987))