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The current discussion about Protoavis...
(which I have followed with interest; it was quite informative,
despite the flaming towards the end,(( we should avoid this: we must
not forget: we are a very minority who happen to take interest in old
bones and are happy to have such a forum with similar minded people,
professionals and well-informed laymen alike, let's try to behave as
comrades; end of a personal thought)
... recalled to me a question which I already wanted to ask
to the list some time ago. Recently, Chatterjee described an unusual
isolated (AFAIK) skull from the Dockum formation as belonging to a
very early ornithomimosaur, which he named Shuvosaurus (species?). IF
this is true, this would mean there is a record of an
Arctometatarsalian, thus a (highly derived) Maniraptoriform from the
Late Triassic Dockum. This would mean Maniraptoriformes were not only
already present but must have been quite radiated by Late Triassic
times, which would make the presence of a avian theropod (?Protoavis)
in this fauna less implausible from a stratigraphic viewpoint.
BUT, not everyone accepts this identification. Long and Murry believe
Shuvosaurus is in fact a skull of a rauisuchian/poposaurid
Crurotarsal; they even go as far as suggesting it might be referred
to postcranial elements formerly referred to Postosuchus by
Chatterjee, but renamed as Chatterjeea gen. nov. by Long and Murry:
a gracile, at least facultative bipedal Crurotarsal with a edentulous
ornithomimosaur-like head, if they are right.
I am a bit surprised this has not already been discussed on this
list. Has anyone seen the Shuvosaurus skull? Any comments on this?