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birds from dinos, oviraptor arms



        On Feduccia, one of the things he cites is how the most birdlike
dinosaurs occur seventy million years later than Archaeopteryx. This is
simply going too far, while it is true that Velociraptor is Late
Cretaceous, the dromaeosaurs appeared  in the Early Cretaceous-
Velociraptor ~110MYA and Utahraptor even earlier. Not to mention the fact
that the convergent evolution argument is completely hollow. It makes
sense in the case of loons, grebes and hesperornithiformes, or in
porpoises and sharks and ichthyosaurs, or in birds and pterosaurs,
*because they live the same lifestyle*. He doesn't even attempt to explain
why a dinosaur supposed to be a big-game hunting cursor (and which, but of
course (according to Feduccia) wouldn't be able to get in trees!) should
look *anything* like an small arboreal flier! It's ludicrous, to say the
least. 
        On other notes, in regards to Oviraptor arms: I was looking at
those today, and they look simply massive. Very robust for a theropod,
much more so than in Velociraptor, with big, highly curved claws and horn
sheaths that extend the arc even farther. I've seen that same greater than
90 degree arc in eagle talons, and I wonder if Oviraptor might have used
its arms in such a fashion to capture small game (such as the small
Velociraptors found in one nest). The head, of course, is difficult to
figure out- the relatively heavy built of the skull is consistent with
carnivory, although doesn't have any kind of heavy hook on it as in owls
and eagles. 
        I also have a question about the hands. They to be oriented
differently than in Velociraptor- instead of being palm inwards, as in
Dromaeosaurs and Archaeopteryx (Sereno style), they are oriented more in
line with the palm-down orientation traditionally associated with theropod
manuses (original GSP style). What gives? 
        On another note, I don't know about all dinosaurs having good
color vision- don't owls see in black and white? Night hunters may have
had less color vision, perhaps. 

[ Secondary nocturnality or fossoriality are the only reasons I hedge
  my bets with phrases like "Many (if not most or even all)" when
  discussing this subject.  As for owls, I haven't gotten around to
  looking hard, but to the best of my knowledge their visual systems
  are largely uncharacterized.  I know of a good deal of work on their
  auditory systems -- including some tie-ins connecting the sensory
  "maps" of vision and audition -- but nothing relating to their color
  vision (anyone with references feel free to chime in).  In any case,
  a complete lack of color vision (i.e. what people frequently refer
  to as "seeing in black and white") is pretty much unknown in any
  animal.  Don't believe any claims on that subject made by people
  who don't at least cite Jerald Jacobs' 1981 book _Comparative Color
  Vision_.  If it's older than that or the author isn't familiar with
  Jacobs then there's a good bet that their data are either incorrect
  or lacking. -- MR ]

        And finally, does anyone know if the mount of Ingenia yanshinii is
composite or not? 

        -nick L.