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Dinosaur Genera List corrections #43



The following synonym of _Archaeopteryx_ was evidently to have been proposed
as a replacement name for _Griphosaurus_ and is not simply a misspelling of
it, as I had thought before:

_Griphornis_ Owen _vide_ Woodward, 1862*

It is a manuscript name of Owen's that was "leaked" into publication by
Owen's assistant at the British Museum, Henry Woodward.

So, because _Archaeopteryx_ has been classified among the dinosaurs, this
should be added to the list as a dinosaur name. The asterisk signifies that
it is not presently considered dinosaurian.

_Archaeopteryx_ and all its objective and subjective synonyms, namely,
_Archaeornis_, _Griphornis, _Griphosaurus_, and _Jurapteryx_, should likewise
be asterisked.

I recently added Tracy Ford's compilation of Mesozoic bird taxa to the table
of archosaurs in _Mesozoic Meanderings_ #2, and in order to comment on it, I
had to take a crash course in avian skeletal anatomy. The more I studied, the
more it became apparent to me that _Archaeopteryx_ was considerably more
advanced toward the modern avian body plan than any dromaeosaurid, and that
keeping _Archaeopteryx_ in an order separate from the one containing
Dromaeosauridae is fully justified. The taxa _were_ closely related, just not
as closely as I had thought based on a couple of cladistic studies I had
read. In particular, the skull of _Archaeopteryx_ is almost exactly midway in
morphology between those of dromaeosaurids and those of modern birds: it has
many features of both groups. I'm now quite confident that the clade Avialae,
rooted at the common ancestor of _Archaeopteryx_ and extant Aves, does not
include any known birdlike dinosaurs (dromaeosaurids, oviraptorids,
avimimids, etc.); these are all close outgroups to Avialae. _Mononykus_ and
Alvarezsauridae probably do not fall into Avialae either, and is yet another
one of the avialan outgroups. Close, but no cigar, as they say.