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BIG BIRD LAID "DINO" EGGS?



The subject title is the way SCIENCE (Vol 279, 9 January, 1998) "RANDOM SAMPLES" news editor Constance Holden heads an interesting item concerning an article in the January issue of the Journal of The GeologicalSociety by two French paleontologists, Eric Buffetaut of the University of Bourgogne and Jean Le Loeuff of the Musee de Dinousaures at Esperaza.

The news note in SCIENCE (try www.sciencemag.org) says that many of the "dinosaur" eggs found in southern France "...may actually have been laid by giant ostrichlike [sic] birds."

The SCIENCE RANDOM SAMPLE reporting seems to me slightly confused, and I haven't seen the original journal article as yet, but the claims appears based of the find and interpretation of some 72 million-year-old bones of what the authors name Gargantuavis philoinos, said to have, "...weighed in at 141 kg".

The SCIENCE news item shows a nicely detailed photo of 'Big Bird' pelvic bones. Article goes on to describe a "...broad and heavy pelvis some 20 by 18 centimeters...attached to 10 fused lower spinal cord vertebrae". From there, the facts seem to get a bit muttled, and it seems imperative we go to the original source for what, I hope, is a clearer reporting.

Anyhow, the "...short, stout leg bone [femur? -- R.S.] is also ostrichlike [sic], with a shaft 15 centimeters around".

Let's check this one out. One wonders if or how this may relate to the dino-to-bird debate.

Ray Stanford