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AMNH



        Well, me an' Curtice  and a couple of others went into the AMNH
and wandered around. I got to see that vertebrae-placing magic in action
and lots of sauropod materials, like the Amphicoelias (no, not
fragillimus) holotype, and I got in a chat with Chiappe about Mononykos
and other things (Feduccia's book came up) and I got to see some theropod
stuff. Of most interest were the Oviraptors. No, Oviraptor does NOT have a
fully reversed hallux as best I can see, it points back with the rest. The
claws are very interesting, they are curved, as I noted, like a bald
eagle's, what is more they have a nice flexor tubercle and the lower
surface of the claw is flat, not bladelike, as in that bird. They are also
capable of closing like an eagle's; these were raptorial hands and I would
guess used to grab relatively small prey (smaller than Oviraptor) where
the large beak may have been used to feed. I freely admit the absence of
any sharp point to the upper jaw as in the eagle is confusing in this
context. Oviraptor, however, may simply have popped small animals into its
mouth and crunched them up in its beak.  Lastly I saw the Oviraptor
furcula. I might have bits of a project to do here so I won't say anything
beyond that it seems the Dinosauria is a little inaccurate with this one.
We had some interesting discussions on sauropod rearing and other things,
too. 

        Nick L.