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While rooting through an old volume of S.V.P. abstracts (v. 11 supliment to
Number 3, Sept. 30, 1991) I came across a curious little contribution by
none-other than Sankar Chatterjee. The abstract appears on page 21A, right
next to an abstract by our own Ralph Chapman ("Analyzing Cranial Variation
in Archosaurs"...cool, Ralph).
Chatterjee's title was: "An Unusual Toothless Archosaur From the Triassic
of Texas-The World's Oldest Ostrich Dinosaur?"
Summarizing, "A beautiful skull of a bird-mimic archosaur from the Upper
Triassic Dockum Formation of Texas shows all of the ornithomimid attributes...
<snip>... The Texas specimen shows three derived features not found in
other ornithomimids....<snip>... The discovery of the Texas species makes it
the oldest member of the family Ornithomimidae and extends the range of this
group to near the beginning of the history of dinosaurs...<snip>....
The possibility that the Texas species might have acquired ornithomimid
features by convergence seems unlikely." End of quote.
Does anybody have any further information on this specimen? Has Chatterjee
named it? I am a little skeptical of the affinity for the following reasons:
It is only slightly younger than Herrasaurus and Eoraptor, yet it is
not only a ornithomimid (a derived theropod), but it is a DERIVED
Could Chatterjee have found evidence
for the early radiation of highly advanced theropods?? Is this even
In this same issue, Ralph Molnar reports on "A Nearly Complete,
Articulated Ankylosaur from Queensland, Australia" (page 47A).
Molnar reports: "An ankylosaur skeleton collected in 1990 in north-
central Queensland...<snip>...It derives from the Toolebuc Formation
(Albian). The skeleton is nearly complete back to caudal 6, with an
associated sequesnce of 12 articulated caudal, and represents an
animal 2.5 to 3 metres ("meters") long....<snip>...the armor is
preserved in situ and consists of scutes and ossicles along the neck and
back and apparently upstanding triangular plates on the tail....<snip>".
Was this dinosaur ever more fully described and named by Molnar?
Next, an abstract on taphonomy (a subject near and dear to my heart)
also appeared in this volume. Michael Leite reported on "The Physics
of Bloated Carcasses: Toward a Biostratinomic Model for Aquatic
Fossillagerstatten". (page 42A)
Those golden words just roll off your tongue, don't they?
Lastly, a bit of taxonomic trivia:
In an abstract on "Molding and Casting the World's Largest Turtle"...
Dan Chaney and Peter Kroelhler report (p. 21A) on the trials tribulations of
making a cast of Stupendemys geographicus.
Now THAT's the way taxa should be named.