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PROTARCHAEOPTERYX



Pete Buccholz  (quite rightly) wondered what can really be determined 
from the photo of the first specimen of _Protarchaeopteryx_, as 
figured in Padian and Chiappe's _Sci. Am._ photo  (and apologies to 
Ed Heck, but the illustrations are awful). There is no skull, the 
hips appear to be preserved so we can only view them in cranial view, 
and one of the most important features - that big tuft of feathers - 
is not joined to the skeleton. Hence suggestions that the feathers 
(and these really are feathers) do not go with the skeleton.

Well, do not fear: there is a second specimen, and it is much better. 
Tom discussed it here previously I think, so I won't go into great 
detail. There is both a skull and a complete neck, and yes, the 
animal is preserved in typical theropod death posture (neck curved 
back). The tail is short and bears a symmetrical array of 
_Archaeopteryx_-style feathers on either side. A clump of feathers 
appears to sprout from the wrist. 

I hope I am permitted to share this information (let me know before I 
start mailing out jpegs of the photo Tom).

"It would seem that some continental palaeontologists in their desire 
to discover new species forget to take into consideration such 
trifles as age or sex in relation to size"  - Leeds, 1867.

DARREN NAISH
darren.naish@port.ac.uk