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This morning I posted a message about pliosaurs. Has anyone seen it yet, because
I think it got lost.


This stuff about therizinosaurs has me losing sleep. For starters, it's clear
that theropods were more diverse than is usually implied. For those that like
their Linnaean 'grade-not-clade' stuff, were theropods alive today it would be
wrong to shoehorn that variation into a single order. The oviraptorosaurs, for
example, look like the kind of group you'd nominate to ordinal status. Whoa... 
deep water there, daz!

Lambert (in Dinosaur Data book) tried fitting dinosaur families into the
subgroups fashionable at the time, and one of his most interesting quirks was
to put _Avimimus_ among oviraptorosaurs. Tom Holtz put it nearer his
Arctometatarsalia. Actually, I can't quite remember what he did with it. Can you
remind me please? Any case, what's your opinion on _Avimimus_ as an
oviraptorosaur? Anyone?

So what do you folks think about the way therizinosaurs ate? AFAI can tell, 3
published options. Avec my criticesementes...   (pigeon-french)
1) They were fish eaters. Ha ha ha! What?
2) They ate termites/ants, which they dug out with their big claws. Ok, maybe.
But just tell me how heavy a BIG therizinosaur weighed. Now ask if it's possible
to eat enough ants for a body that size...
3) Boring old herbivores. That gets my vote: you have a beak, a MASSIVE gut, a
totally non-predacious bod, and some good foliage-hookers and diggers thrown in
too (them claws). This might also help us out with oviraptorids and
caenagnathids. I really can't see them as molluscivores, but a small-vertebrate
eating lifestyle seems kinda reasonable.

Regarding the fish-eating theory, some authors have suggested that the 4-toed
web-footed prints known from various K locales may belong to therizinosaurs.
Dale Russell mentions the prints of a big, web-footed theropod from somewhere
in N. America. 

Some cryptozoologists (last mention I promise) say: 'The best days of zoology
are not done!'. Well, 'The best days of dinosaurology are CERTAINLY not done'.

Only one more exam to go!
"You're never gonna get this bucket o' bolts past a Star Destroyer!"  "OH
yeah... well watch this!"  "Watch what?"

DARREN "bad machine" NAISH