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"Daptosaurus" (was Re: Dromaeosaur "sickle" claws)

At 01:30 PM 8/24/97 -0700, you wrote:
>Also I find it a little disturbing that no mention seems to
>be made anywhere of "Daptosaurus",

Then how did you know about it...  Norell et al. DID mention it, as did
Chure & McIntosh (1989), and Ostrom never made a secret of that.

>found and named by Barnum Brown in 1931,
>not even as an acknowledgement that "Deinonychus" was already found,





No.  No formally study had been completed.  In fact, it only progressed to
the very initial stages before Brown abandoned the project.

>mounted for display,


>drawn up as a skeletal restoration

Yes.  That is as far as the work had progressed: individual restorations of
some of the bones, and a reconstruction of the skeleton.  To give Brown
credit (and I am a great admirer of Brown), he gave it the skull of
_Dromaeosaurus_, despite the fact Brown misidentified all the _Deinonychus_
teeth (which show their dromaeosaurid affinity) as coming from what we now
call _Microvenator_ (Brown's "Megadontosaurus").

>etc. a  long time ago.  Ostrom did not discover this animal as we seem led
>to believe.

Ostrom went to work in the Cloverly specifically to search again for Brown's
old sites, the best then known from the Lower Cretaceous of western North

>I know that Brown didn't publish the name "Daptosaurus" so
>Ostrom is within his rights to choose his own name, but it wouldn't hurt to
>tell the whole story about this animal.  See the book "Disovering Dinosaurs
>in the American Museum of Natural History" (Norell, Gaffney, Dingus) pp
>129-131 for some illuminating information.

Yes.  You will also find that much of the "information" Sholly presented was
his own (incorrect) interpretation of the limited data Norell et al. offer.

>Also, in his skeltal
>restoration, Brown found no need to do anything weird with claw #2, but set
>it on the ground as one would expect.

And, you will notice, the claws were only partially colored in.  Brown did
not know about the actual proportions and shape of the _Deinonychus_ claw:
that was discovered by Ostrom & co. in the 1960s.

And it was THAT discovery which led to a) modern thinking about the levels
of activity of dinosaurs exceeding that of modern cold-blooded animals and
later b) the modern thinking of the dinosaurian ancestry of birds.

>The photo of the pes on page 131
>looks fine and natural to me, with the #2 toe extended normally like the
>other two.

Sure does.  Of course, that foot is in the suspended phase, and is not walking.

The joints clearly show the hyperextensibility of the second digit, but no
one has suggested that they NEVER brought digit II out of hyperextension.

Thomas R. Holtz, Jr.
Vertebrate Paleontologist     Webpage: http://www.geol.umd.edu
Dept. of Geology              Email:th81@umail.umd.edu
University of Maryland        Phone:301-405-4084
College Park, MD  20742       Fax:  301-314-9661