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Re: Mononykus

>As a newcomer to the forum I'd like to know more about _Mononykus_.  (Or has
>that argument come and gone preceding my signing on?)  I'm looking froward
>especially to any new thoughts or observations not previously covered by the
>AMNH guys. (Jump in Greg and George!)
>I'd like to know: 
>What is the place of _Mononykus_ in theropoda, if not closer to living birds
>than _Archaeopteryx_?  

So far, the only published cladogram incorporating Mononykus are the Perle
et al. ones (and, just so this mistake doesn't continue, the proper citation
by a paper with Perle Altangerel in it is "Perle 199X", not "Altangerel
199X").  Until someone conducts a new analysis incorporating additional taxa
and/or characters, other suppositions are just suppositions.  As far as I
know, no one else has yet published a phylogenetic analysis with Mononykus.
Of course, all that will probably change in November...
>What was the use of the foreclaws?  

There is a graduate student at Yale who is working on this particular
problem.  I don't know what her hypotheses are yet.

Suggestions I've heard so far are: 1) burrowing (seems way too small for
that); 2) prying open bark to get at insects (not bad, but kind of odd for a
desert beast); or 3) preening feathers.  I'm sure others can post additional

Thomas R. Holtz, Jr.
Vertebrate Paleontologist
Dept. of Geology
University of Maryland
College Park, MD  20742
Email:Thomas_R_HOLTZ@umail.umd.edu (th81)
Fax: 301-314-9661