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Avimimus (was Re: Dinosaur Web Pages' Re-Opening)
The post from which this is excerpted has now become impossibly long to
answer in the limited amount of time I have available. So I have to divide it
up into more manageable pieces. Here's one.
In a message dated 97-09-04 15:54:28 EDT, firstname.lastname@example.org writes:
<< >So the slender fibula becomes a potential synapomorphy of _Mononykus_ and
>_Avimimus_. There may be others, particularly among the femoral
trochanters, >but I haven't finished looking at the literature.
I'm still not sure about alvarezsaurids, and I haven't seen the
recent work. However, several workers I respect seem to believe they are
(all) birds, and no one has come up with an alternate explanation which I
can completely believe. As for _Avimimus_, well, I still like Bucholtz's
[sic?] idea, myself... >>
I think Peter has a >very good< point when he suspects that the _Avimimus_
holotype specimen is a chimera. Unfortunately, I don't have my copy of the
paper handy (it's still back in Buffalo), so my ability to comment on this is
limited. As I mentioned in my earlier reply, whatever creature the leg
belongs to is probably a pretty close relative of _Mononykus_ and
I'm skeptical of the _Alvarezsaurus_-_Mononykus_ connection, since it is
documented only in a couple of cladistic studies that seem to do little more
than balance a random assortment of characters against an equally random
assortment of characters without much regard for character suites. We need
more material, and more studies.