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_Archaeopteryx_ claws get weirder by the second...



        Upon close examination of some (rather dodgy) casts of
_Archaeopteryx_ at the Philidelphia [sic?] Academy of Sciences, I am farily

[ You most likely mean "Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia"
  or just ANSP.  -- MR ]

convinced that the ungual of the second (or third to some people) manual
digit of this taxon, and possibly one other digit (although this was more
difficult to confirm) sports a "lip" structure very similar (although _not_
identical) to that seen on oviraptorids, elmisaurids, and _Alxasaurus_.
        The casts were not of the highest quality, but the "lip" may be
clearly discerned on the extensor surface of the articulation.  Unlike the
other taxa mentioned, in the urvogel the "lip" does not fair directly into
the curve of the claw.  It is seperated by a straight or slightly concave
outward margin from the curved portion of the extensor rim of the ungual,
giving the claw a "sickle" outline, with the "lip" at the base of the
handle.  This structure may be seen in close-up photographs of the claws,
such as those in Welnhoffer's article on the pubis of _Archaeopteryx_ in
_The Beginnings of Birds_.
        Comments?
        Wagner


+--------------------------------------------------------------------------+
| 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             |
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