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Re: Lots of Stuff

>Pterosaur classification:
>    I've got a question.  Is the term 'Rhamphorhynchoidea' thought to be
>paraphyletic now-a-days?  Or is it thought to be a monophyletic assemblage
>that is the sister taxon to the Pterodactyloidea?  Has anyone done any
>cladistic analyses of pterosaurs recently (ever)?

Several cladograms of Pterosauria have been produced, but most have only
been published as abstracts.  Rhamphorhynchoidea is a paraphyletic taxon,
since some "rhamphorhynchoids" (such as the type genus) are closer to
Pterodactyloidea than are others (such as Dimorphodon).

>    The type specimen of _Ornithodesmus_ has been recognized as a troodontid.

It is a theropod, but not necessarily a troodontid.  In fact, some of the
characters that have been used to call it a "maniraptoran" are also found in

>"The Dinosauria II:"
>    Has anyone even thought about this yet?  Seriously, this book is six
>years old and seriously out-of-date already on some things like theropod
>relationships.  Really if it were started now, the book could probably be
>printed by 2000 or so and include much more up-to-date information and
>theories (until _it_ gets out-dated in 2006) and contributions from more and
>younger authors (oh like Tom Holtz).

I like this idea.

> I think that this should be something done every decade or so;

To hawk some wares: the new textbook by Fastovsky & Weishampel should be out
soon (actually, it's overdue).

A multiauthored semitechincal book on dinosaurs is currently being edited by
Farlow and Brett-Surman, both readers and posters on the net.  It should be
very good.  Now, I have to get back to writing my chapters...

>Nerve Openings:
>    I've got a question.  Are the nerve openings to the brain - I'm not sure
>wich ones, the ones that Nick was talking about - of dinosaurs like.. oh
>Prosauropods and Early Predentates in any way similar to those of
>Archaeopterygiformes?  Has anyone checked this for segnosaurs (I know Tom was
>wondering when I'd put segnosaurs into this post), because if they are more
>similar to the Arctometatarsalia + Metornithes group (let's call that Aves
>from now on),

Far from an established taxon.

> or the Archaeopterygiformes + Aves group (let's call that
>Manuraptoriformes from now on),

The paper naming "Maniraptoriformes" will come out in issue 3 of the current
volume of J Paleontology.  The proofs just went back to the editors.

> than they are to Predentates or to
>Prosauropods + Predentates (still looking for a good name), then I would
>admit that segnosaurs are tremendously abberant theropods, but theropods
>none-the-less.  That's something that Tom would never expect to hear coming
>out of my mouth.

[jaw drops to the floor in amazment!]

I feely admit that therizinosauroids are HIGHLY transformed theropods.

Thomas R. Holtz, Jr.
Vertebrate Paleontologist
Dept. of Geology
University of Maryland
College Park, MD  20742
Email:Thomas_R_HOLTZ@umail.umd.edu (th81)
Fax: 301-314-9661