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Re: ELMISAURUS RARUS



At 03:49 PM 3/2/97 PST, you wrote:
>About _Elmisaurus rarus_:
>>From a drawing of an _Elmisaurus rarus_'foot in "Dinosaur Encyclopedia" by
>Don Lessem and Danald F. Glut, published by the Dinosaur Society, I'm
>incited to think that _Elmisaurus rarus_ would be an arctometatarsalian. Is
>it or is it not? 


Well, yes and no.

Elmisaurids DO show the arctometatarsalian foot structure (one of the five
groups considered in the original study, along with Ornithomimidae,
Tyrannosauridae, Troodontidae, and Avimimus).  In my dissertation and the
1994 phylogeny paper derived from it (Journal of Paleontology 68:1100-1117)
Elmisauridae was determined to be a member of the Arctometatarsalia in the
most parsimonious cladograms.

However, subsequent to that publication, Hans Sues (Royal Ontario Museum)
has described some material which pretty convincingly shows what has been
suspected for some time: that elmisaurids were the bodies of the
oviraptorosaur group Caenagnathidae.  With the addition of this new data,
Elmisauridae/Caenagnathidae falls out in the most parsimonious trees as the
sister group to Oviraptoridae within Oviraptorosauria.  Thus, the pinched
foot structure in Elmisaurus and Chirostenotes evolved independantly of that
in Arctometatarsalia proper.

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

"To trace that life in its manifold changes through past ages to the present
is a ... difficult task, but one from which modern science does not shrink.
In this wide field, every earnest effort will meet with some degree of
success; every year will add new and important facts; and every generation
will bring to light some law, in accordance with which ancient life has been
changed into life as we see it around us to-day."
        --O.C. Marsh, Vice Presidential Address, AAAS, August 30, 1877