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Lot's o' stuff



>From sum@geopak.com
<<My question is, how does that fit with the dinosaur->bird
evolution idea?  Are birds already in existence then? if not,
then some dinosaurs must have survived so that they can
eventually evolve into birds.  Has there been any fossils
of half-dino-half-birds found?>>

In my humble opinion... there is _no_ anitomical gulf between 
dinosaurs and birds, so I would say that dinosaurs are not at all 
extinct.  It is pretty darn difficult to decide where to cross the line 
between Avialae and non-Avialae (Avialae is the Cladistic label for 
birds).  The Avialaens probably originated sometime in the late 
Jurassic or early Cretaceous.  In my opinion it should be "The first 
theropod whose tail is the same length or shorter than the Ischium;" 
i.e. a pygostil, er.. pigostyl.  That would probably put _Sinornis_ (as 
far as I know) in the place of first Avialaen.  Others would Put 
_Archaeopteryx_ in the spot of first Avialaen because it has feathers. 
 I absolutely disagree with this because a) it is anotomically a 
Dromeosaur (or Dromesaurs are anotomically Archaeopterigians, if 
you want to get really technical), and b) you have no definite proof 
that Dromeosaurs (or any other dinosaurs for that matter) didn't have 
feathers.  Just my two cents (pence for all you British folks : ).

<< It is pretty amazing that there are dinosaurs living on land, in sea 
and in the sky.  I do not know of another animal species that does 
that.>>

Dinosaurs in the sea.  Not quite...  I'm not saying that dinosaurs 
couldn't swim, just that it wasn't their favorite thing to do.  I do agree 
with Bob Bakker (don't hate me for that) that Hadrosaurs were 
probably poor swimmers, and that Theropods and small Ornithopods 
like Hypsylophodontids and Dryosaurs were probably among the 
best.  Greg Paul probably has it right when he says, "just about any 
animal will swim if you throw it in the water."  Dinosaurs in the air.  
Maybe...  Depends on who you ask.  Most would agree that 
pterosaurs are not dinosaurs, but very close to them.  Some - 
including me - would say that they are dinosaurs.

anarvaez@umd5.umd.edu
<<Is there really evidence for epocipital bone on the frill of 
Triceratops, or is this artistic interpretation? Is epocipital bone 
characteristic of all the ceratopsians, including Protoceratops?>>

In all "Ceratopsids" there are pretty well developed Epoccipitals.  In 
Protoceratops, I'm not quite sure, I think the frill has a wavy outer edge
though.

Time for penguin stuff.  I heard somewhere a while ago, that someone 
proposed that humans had evolved from aquatic or semi-aquatic 
ancesters.  They thought this because only animals that have 
returned to the sea have there pelvises rearranged in the upright 
posture sort of way, like humans, penguins, _Hesperornis_, and 
otters.  They cited other things like the shape of our noses and our 
excessive body fat as indicaters of a past aquatic existance.  Does 
ayone know if anything else has come of this?  Does anyone have a 
ref. for this?

Isle of Wight brachiosaur (boy you English folks have pretty darn 
strange place names).  Does anyone know what this sauropod is?  
Do they think it could be _Pelorosaurus_?  I heard somewhere that 
the _Pelorosaurus_ material and the _Brachiosaurus_ material were 
practically indistinguishable.  I think it would be pretty darn nice to 
see this figured out.  If _Brachiosaurus_ and _Pelorosaurus_ turn out 
to be the same genus, would the family name be changed to 
Pelorosauridae?

Sorry its so long... It's 12:15AM and 77 degrees F; still.  I can't 
sleep.  I'd say that summer is definately here.  I have Saturday off 
from work; I know it's going to rain.

Peter Buchholz
Stang1996@aol.com