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Re: An evolution question.



>I am trying to trace the evolutionary history of Dromaeosaurids.
>(I think thats what their called) Basically the raptor families,
>like deinonychus, velociraptor, etc. Does anyone know of some
>papers or references I could use to help me with this evolutionary
>lineage? Anything would be very helpful.
>
>                              Shannon-Salisbury State University

Actually, there isn't much to tell (at least until the paleontologists who
are working on the dromaeosaurid phylogeny [family tree] produce some
results).  Basically, there are two major groups (subfamilies in the old
parlance), the Dromaeosaurinae and the Velociraptorinae.  In geologic
order, dromaeosaurines include Utahraptor, Dromaeosaurus, and possibly
Adasaurus (if that is a dromaeosaurid).  Velociraptorines include
Deinonychus, Velociraptor, and Saurornitholestes (if that one isn't the
same as Velociraptor).  Elopteryx, which seems to be a Late Cretaceous
European dromaeosaurid, may belong to one, the other, or its own
subdivision of the dromaeosaurids.

I may regret mentioning this, but Bob Bakker had an article on
dromaeosuarids (mostly Utahraptor) in _Earth_ magazine in the summer (I
think) of 1993.  He has his own version of the theropod family tree in
there.  Be warned, however: Bakker is a notorious "splitter" (the joke goes
that he never met a species name he didn't like...), so some of the
"unnamed genus of dromaeosaurid from XXX Formation" may just be additional
fossils of previously known genera.  This paper is, as far as I know, the
most recent published family tree of the Dromaeosauridae.

Good luck,

                                
Thomas R. Holtz, Jr.                                   
tholtz@geochange.er.usgs.gov
Vertebrate Paleontologist in Exile                  Phone:      703-648-5280
U.S. Geological Survey                                FAX:      703-648-5420
Branch of Paleontology & Stratigraphy
MS 970 National Center
Reston, VA  22092
U.S.A.