[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index][Subject Index][Author Index]

Deinonychus & Velociraptor -- together at last?



In older dinosaur publications, and in recent 'crappy' kiddie books, we see
that cool dino Deinonychus as a pubic boot-less, Allosaur-headed, scaley
animal.  Nowadays, restorations have gone to the opposite extreme --
Deinonychus, in reliable books, now is much more birdy, with a long, narrow,
upcurving snout, a large pubic boot, Archaeopteryx-like hands, and sometimes
with feathers and a proto-beak.  Some, including Mr. Paul here, have dubbed
Deinonychus a protobird and lumped it into the genus Velociraptor.  

John Ostrom, and quite a few others, have protested against this lumping.
 "Deinonychus and Velociraptor the same genus -- hmmph, preposterous!"  I
have hardly seen anyone taking faith in the lumping.  People are still
calling 'Velociraptor antirrhopus' Deinonychus now, as we near 1996.  More
and more evidence is bringing the two species closer together.  Or is it?...

Reexamining the disarticulated skulls of Deinonychus has lead many to
reconstruct it as very similar in design to V. mongoliensis's.  Except that
V. mongoliensis's skull is longer and more depressed.  The rest of the body
is rather similar, almost identical in design, but the hands show some
differences -- it appears that Deinonychus's hands are much more like those
of Archaeopteryx (the mother of dromaeosaurs).  

Then there is the difference in size.  Spread out your index finger and your
thumb and far as they will go -- Velociraptor mongoliensis's skull was about
that long, even shorter, depending on how far your joints can stretch.  V.
mongoliensis had, say, about the mass of my samoyed Bo.  Not too impressive
for a dinosaur.  Whereas, Deinonychus was a hint larger.  The AMNH specimen,
shown leaping in midair, was smaller than I would have guessed -- did they
really only get that big?  Deinonychus has usually been reconstructed around
6 feet tall -- perhaps they goofed once too many.  But when two species are
CLOSELY RELATED, similar enough in form to be placed in the same genus, size
doesn't have to matter -- the minke whale and the blue whale are in the same
genus, despite their difference in size.

And now geological differences!  Not only were 'terrible claw' and 'swift
plunderer' separated by millions of years, but also by their home locale!
 Deinonychus lived in the Cloverly Formation in the late Early Cretaceous
Period, and I cant remember exactly, but V-raptor lived SOMETIME in the Late
Cretaceous.  (Don't pick on me for forgetting.) Does this mean there is no
possible way that they could have been the same genus -- separation by time?
 Just because V-raptor and D-nychus lived continents apart doesn't mean a
thing.  Dromaeosaurs from Asia could have gotten to America from the Berring
Strait landbridge, or vice-versa.

I am not so sure about this Deinonychus = Velociraptor bit.  I like
Deinonychus better as a Velociraptor (for some reason unexplainable by
science), but as far as I can tell, it doesn't look like they'll be tying the
knot anytime soon.  Comments?

Raptor RKC (Rachel Clark)

Those on AOL can check my ever-truthful profile.