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Re: Megalosaurus

At 11:33 AM 12/9/96 -0500, Rachel Clark wrote:

>Just how well known is Megalosaurus, anyway? 

        In _The Great Dinosaurs_, Currie et al. (no, he wasn't the senior
author, but...) note that several new specimens have turned up.  I cannot
recall if these were new _Megalosaurus_ specimens or "megalosaurs" (sensu
paraphyletic), but I believe they were the former.  Anybody know anything
they can say in public?
        In the _Monolophosaurus_ article in the CJES Sino-Canadian Mongolian
Expedition issue, several workers (amongst them Bakker and Currie) are said
to have shared a large volume of unpublished notes on "megalosaurs" (sensu I
have no idea, but the article seems to use the term paraphyleticly) with the
authors.  Bakker's new publication in Hunteria is said to have some of his
data, and that article is fairly hefty.
        Dr. Holtz has recently (SVP'96) done analysis which tenatively
confirms a monophlyetic Megalosauroidea consisting of _Afrovenator_,
_Megalosaurus_, _Torvosaurus_, and the Spinosauridae, although he has said
that he is no longer certain of the inclusion of the spinosaurs.
        Obviously, part of the problem with this is the persistance of
paraphyletic groupings.  Workers seem to have taken to identifying animals
as "megalosaur-grade", and leaving this as if it were enough (although, in
some cases, it is all the worker has time to do).  This has left a legacy of
confusion regarding what "megalosaurs" are, how they relate to other
animals, the legitimacy of the taxon as a monophyletic group, etc etc.
Hopefully the new work Dr. Holtz mentioned will at least provide a basis for
some serious rethinking.  Now if only everyone else could find the time to
publish (as Dr. Bakker is apparently doing), this mess may get sorted out
sometime in the next couple decades.
| Jonathan R. Wagner                    "You can clade if you want to,     |
| Department of Geosciences              You can leave your friends behind |
| Texas Tech University                  Because your friends don't clade  |
| Lubbock, TX 79409                               and if they don't clade, |
|       *** wagner@ttu.edu ***           Then they're no friends of mine." |
|           Web Page:  http://faraday.clas.virginia.edu/~jrw6f             |